Could vs Should

Type your word here
Try:

What’s the difference between them?

Could

Meaning:

could is an auxiliary verb that is used to express possibility or to make a request.

Examples:

1. I could finish this project by tomorrow.

2. Could you please pass the salt?

3. We could go to the beach this weekend if the weather is nice.

Should

Meaning:

should is an auxiliary verb that is used to express obligation, advisability, or expectation. It can also be used to express an opinion or give advice.

Examples:

1. You should reconsider your decision before it's too late.

2. We should plan our next vacation sooner rather than later.

3. You should take some time to relax and unwind.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Could

1. May

2. Might

3. Should

4. Would

5. Be able to

1. Would

2. Shouldn't

3. Mustn't

4. Unable

5. Refrain

Should

1. Ought to

2. Need to

3. Be obliged to

4. Necessitate

5. Be compelled to

1. Must not

2. Cannot

3. Ought not

4. Refuse

5. Avoid

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Could", "Should".

1. 'Could' is used to indicate potential or ability to do something.

2. 'Should' is used to indicate an obligation or expectation that something should be done.

3. Imagine yourself in a situation where you can do something, but it is not an obligation. That is the difference between 'could' and 'should'.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

Learn the difference

Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the first word be used?

'Could' should be used when asking for permission or making a request. It implies that the action is possible, but not certain. For example, 'Could I borrow your car for the weekend?'

When is the appropriate context for using the second word?

'Should' is used to indicate a recommendation or to indicate what is the correct or best thing to do in a given situation. For example, 'You should double-check your work before submitting it.'

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, these two words have different pronunciations. 'Could' is pronounced /kʊd/, while 'should' is pronounced /ʃʊd/.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

The most common mistake people make when using these words is confusing them. 'Could' is used when asking for permission or making a request, while 'should' is used to indicate a recommendation or to indicate what is the correct or best thing to do in a given situation.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. We ____ take our time to make sure that we are making the right decision.

2. Im not sure what I ____ do in this situation.

3. I ____ have gone to the party, but I didnt think it was a good idea.

4. She ____ be given the opportunity to prove her worth.

5. We ____ be more mindful of the environment.

6. He ____ not be allowed to get away with this.

1. Should

Explanation: This word is an auxiliary verb used to show obligation or recommendation. It is appropriate here because taking time to make sure the decision is the right one is something that should be done.

2. Could

Explanation: This word is an auxiliary verb used to indicate possibility. In this sentence, the speaker is uncertain of what to do in the given situation, so it is appropriate to use could to express that.

3. Could

Explanation: This word is an auxiliary verb used to indicate possibility. The speaker here is expressing past doubt about going to the party, so could is appropriate to express that.

4. Should

Explanation: This word is an auxiliary verb used to show obligation or recommendation. It is appropriate here because the speaker is recommending that the individual be given the opportunity to prove her worth.

5. Should

Explanation: This word is an auxiliary verb used to show obligation or recommendation. It is appropriate here because the speaker is recommending that people be more mindful of the environment.

6. Should

Explanation: This phrase is an auxiliary verb used to show prohibition. It is appropriate here because the speaker does not think the individual should be allowed to get away with this.

Get a gift by subscribing to our newsletter!

Download the PDF with a list of commonly confused words made as flashcards for comfortable learning.

List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.