Should vs Must

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What’s the difference between them?

Should

Meaning:

Should is an auxiliary verb used to indicate a recommendation, suggestion, or requirement.

Examples:

1. You should get some rest before the big game.

2. We should strive to be better people every day.

3. You should always listen to your parents' advice.

Must

Meaning:

Must is an auxiliary verb that expresses a strong requirement, necessity, or obligation to do something.

Examples:

1.I must complete this assignment by the end of the week.

2.You must follow the rules or you will be disqualified.

3.We must leave now or we will miss the train.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Should

1. Must

2. Ought to

3. Necessitate

4. Have to

5. Need to

1. Must not

2. Need not

3. Dare not

4. Refrain from

5. Don't have to

Must

1. Have to

2. Need to

3. Ought to

4. Be obliged to

5. Necessary to

1. Don't

2. Refuse

3. Avoid

4. Deny

5. Not Obligated

Tricks for mastery

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

1. The key distinction between 'should' and 'must' is that the former implies recommendation while the latter implies obligation.

2.Think of 'should' as advice, and 'must' as a requirement.

3. Remember that 'should' implies choice, while 'must' implies compulsion.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

When should the word 'should' be used?

'Should' is used when making a recommendation or suggesting an action that is not necessarily required. It implies that the action is probably the best thing to do, but it is not a requirement or an obligation.

When is the appropriate context for using the word 'must'?

'Must' is used to indicate that something is absolutely necessary or required. It implies a strong obligation and is used to convey a sense of urgency.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, the two words are pronounced differently. 'Should' is pronounced /∫ud/ while must is pronounced /mʌst/.

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

One common mistake is using 'must' when 'should' is the more appropriate word. This can come across as too strong or even too demanding. Another mistake is using 'should' when 'must' is the more appropriate word. This can lead to confusion or misinterpretation of the desired action.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. You _______ take off your shoes when entering the temple.

2. I _________ buy a new laptop for work.

3. You _________ always be respectful to others.

4. I _________ finish all my assignments by Friday.

5. You _________ study hard if you want to pass the exam.

6. I _________ apologize for my behavior yesterday.

1. You must take off your shoes when entering the temple.

Explanation: The word must is used to express a requirement or obligation, so it is the appropriate word to use in this sentence.

2. I should buy a new laptop for work.

Explanation: The word should is used to express a recommendation or suggestion, so it is the appropriate word to use in this sentence.

3. You must always be respectful to others.

Explanation: The word must is used to express a requirement or obligation, so it is the appropriate word to use in this sentence.

4. I must finish all my assignments by Friday.

Explanation: The word must is used to express a requirement or obligation, so it is the appropriate word to use in this sentence.

5. You should study hard if you want to pass the exam.

Explanation: The word should is used to express a recommendation or suggestion, so it is the appropriate word to use in this sentence.

6. I must apologize for my behavior yesterday.

Explanation: The word must is used to express a requirement or obligation, so it is the appropriate word to use in this sentence.

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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.