Posted by: lyonenglishnetwork | June 20, 2012


I’d welcome your comments on this post, it’s not a complete answer to the question, and I haven’t researched it.

Should is a modal verb. It adds nuance to a sentence. But my question today is: does should vary between cultures ?

I think it must do, depending on the values of the culture. But perhaps you have a different opinion ? Or some information for me ?

Comments, particularly on this post, are welcome.



  1. … and I think an interesting answer to the question comes with: “at what point do we learn this word as a child and at what point as a child are we conscious that we should or shouldn’t do something” ?


    • When we learn about sanctions and negative/positive re-inforcements,

  2. Most common use of should is for obligations, duties, advice. Sure, these are culturally determined. When I hear French kids say, ‘j’ai le droit…’, I think, ‘yes, one’s ‘Rights’ are strongly engrained in the French system, but for every Right’ there is an obligation, like two sides of the same coin’. Perhaps ‘Rights’ and ‘Obligations’ are more codified in France than in other cultures. Perhaps some other cultures lean more towards a ‘moral’ obligation stemming from a learnt and imbued ‘willingness’ to act in a socially responsible manner. Just a thought which may not be true. Perhaps concentrating on ‘duties’ (towards society, family, parents, friends, the State) is more evident as being culturally determined.

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