(As in conditional sentences)

"If I had time, I should go to the gym."
"If I had had time, I should have gone to the gym."

I am not sure about American English, but I reckon in British English if the subject is I" or "We" then "should" can be used in the sense of "would", as in "I would go to the gym" and, "I would have gone to the gym". Am I correct? (Because in British English "I will go to the gym" = "I shall go to the gym")

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    "have a time" is wrong. You probably mean "Have the time".
    – James K
    Feb 27, 2022 at 7:25
  • Cheers and apart from this, Is my interpretation correct in my above query? Feb 27, 2022 at 7:43
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    I (UK) would use would in those sentences. I should have gone means I ought to have gone. Feb 27, 2022 at 8:58
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    @BilalZafar Few native English speakers are even aware of the dubious I/we shall... convention. Take Kate's advice. By the way, English takes a capital E. And it's some Britons not some Britains - another capital letter. Feb 27, 2022 at 10:41
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    @BilalZafar Should can be used in various senses and the meaning will depend on the context.. Sometimes it's ambiguous. I should see them tomorrow can mean either expect to or ought to. But the meanings of I should pay the bill and he should be home by five are clear. Feb 27, 2022 at 10:45

2 Answers 2


Personally, I would deem "If I had, had the time, I should have gone to the gym" to be the better option, but it is up to the writer's opinion as both can be used.

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    The comma after the first had is incorrect. Feb 27, 2022 at 17:39
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    @taylor.2317 as you said "should have gone or would have gone to the gym both can be used" but using should instead of would can be applicable only if the subject is either "I or We" and not any other subject as "I/We Will"= Feb 28, 2022 at 9:17

Second conditional- If I had time, I would go to the gym. (present meaning)

Third conditional- If I had had time, I would have gone to the gym. (past)

'Should' is used in different ways.

I should go = I ought to go.

I should have gone= I ought to have gone. (but I didn't go)

It is better to use 'would' in place of 'should'.

In conditional sentences we can use should, could and would.

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    Can you do a more detailed job of explaining. This doesn't really deal with much of the question, such as the use of "should" instead of "would" in British English.
    – James K
    Feb 27, 2022 at 18:22
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    Right. The British sometimes use should instead of would.
    – Lambie
    Feb 27, 2022 at 18:56
  • @Lambie as you said sometimes british use "should" instead of "would", but the subject should always be either "I" or "We" and not any other subject. Am i right?.as "I/We"will=Conventional shall. Feb 28, 2022 at 9:13
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    @BilalZafar Yes, and also: If I had had time, I should have gone to the gym." can be a duty/obligation or not.
    – Lambie
    Feb 28, 2022 at 14:19

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