In the following sentence:

It contains privileged and confidential information which is not to be disclosed.

if I replace the bold part with "which should not be", how the meaning changes? Are these two phrases interchangeable?


  • 2
    "which is not to be disclosed" is a much stronger of a statement than the "should" version. :) – F.E. Jan 8 '15 at 5:13

It contains privileged and confidential information, which is not to be disclosed.

I think we can replace "not to be" with "should not be" in this sentence, without any significant difference in meaning.


They are not interchangeable. "Should not to be" is not grammatical. If you want to use "should", just say "should not be".

  • Sorry, I meant "should not be". I correct my question. – qartal Jan 8 '15 at 3:51

They don't necessarily mean the same thing, but in this case, they do. The second definition of should (on MW) expresses "obligation, propriety, or expediency". That is what is not to be means here.

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