1. Modals of advice
2. Structure of modals of advice
Should, ought to and had better have the same meaning. However, ought to is usually used in more formal contexts.
The structure of the modals of advice is as follows:
|You should go and see your grandmother once a week.|
|With this temperature you ought to visit the doctor.|
|You'd better go to the dentist.|
|They shouldn't take that train, it doesn't stop in Madrid.|
|You ought not to spend so much money.|
|You'd better not do that.|
|Should I tell him the truth?|
To ask questions should is the most common option. However, we can use ought to in a formal context.
3. How are modals of advice used?
- Should is used to express what we think would be the most correct or convenient thing to do in a given situation, that is, a subjective opinion.You should buy a new bike. This one is small.You shouldn't drink any more.
- Ought to is used to express a more objective point of view. It is used in contexts related to laws, obligations, regulations, etc., and to express what would be morally right or wrong.
He ought to behave a lot better.You ought not to plead guilty.
- Had better is used to give advice when we believe that if we act otherwise, there will be negative consequences.You'd better buy the tickets now.I'd better go or my parents will tell me off.
|+||Subject + should + infinitive||He should study more.|
|-||Subject + shouldn't + infinitive||You shouldn't be angry today.|
|?||Should + subject + infinitive||Should I go to the cinema with my friends?|
|+||Subject + ought to + infinitive||We ought to go out tonight.|
|-||Subject + ought not to + infinitive||You ought not to call him.|
advice when you think there will be negative consequences
|+||Subject + had / 'd better + infinitive||We'd better find a flat soon.|
|-||Subject + had / 'd better not + infinitive||You'd better not touch that.|