How does the english word "should" work in spanish?

0
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I was just wondering how the english word "should" translated into spanish. My teacher said it would just be deber, but that seems to mean "have to". The dictionary on the site lists it as the conditional debería, but the concept of "would should" is confusing me. Also, just to give it some context, I'm using should in the context of a suggestion. For example, "You should study more" or "You should get to bed earlier"

2806 views
updated AGO 17, 2009
posted by Lulu-Wang

4 Answers

2
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English has an unusual range of ways to express this idea, so you have "you should", "you must", "you have to",...

In Spanish these differences are fading off very quickly, but we never had so many options anyway. The main methods are:

  • debo + infinitive
  • tengo que + infinitive
  • Hay que + infinitive

The last two stress the necessity of something regardless of one person's opinion, but the first is more personal. These rules are widely ignored, and are quite different from the English ones.

updated AGO 17, 2009
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907
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I may be wrong but I don't think Modal words exist in Spanish.

Remember that Should is a Modal. Sometimes called a Modal "auxiliary verb" which I think is very confusing because Modals are not verbs. In my opinion the Modals should be called "Special words" - that modify verbs. In other words in English we can make 11 versions of any given verb by preceding the base verb with a Modal.. Just in case here are the 11 Modals: CAN - COULD WILL - WOULD SHALL - SHOULD MAY - MIGHT USED TO - OUGHT TO and MUST. You must find out how sentences that use Modals in English relate to Spanish. "You should eat more." can be expressed in Spanish using the verb DEBER "Deberías comer más." NOTE that the "should" in the above sentence can be replaced with any of the other Modals and result in a new meaning for the sentence.

NOTE that "Tener que" has its equivalent in English "to have to" which is not a Modal but a normal verb. "tengo que." "I have to."

updated AGO 17, 2009
edited by ian-hill
posted by ian-hill
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You can also use the subjunctive tense to express 'should' in certain cases. For example, "We should eat healthy food" can become either "Debemos comer comida sano" or "Es bueno que comamos comida sano" (literally, it's good that we should eat healthy food, but it works better gramatically in Spanish).

In your case of "You should go to bed earlier", you can use "Debes dormir más temprano" or "Es mejor que duermas más temprano".

Hope that helps!

updated AGO 16, 2009
edited by unraveled
posted by unraveled
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I think in those examples you should, forgive the pun, be using deber.

updated AGO 16, 2009
posted by Stig345