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av. should, ought to
Discussion of 应该/應該
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This post is about these two verbs: 应该 and 必须. What are their differences? Are they interchangeable, and if so, will it cause any change in the meaning of the sentence?
- 应该 indicates that the speaker thinks doing something is correct, so we can say that 应该 is used to speak up one’s suggestion or opinion of something (Example 1a & 2a).
Example 1a. 我们是邻居，应该互相帮助。 [phr] We are neighbors, (so) we should help each other.
Example 2a. 你应该参观天安门广场。 [phr] You should visit the Tian'anmen Square.
- 必须 means that something has to be done, this is the only choice, and there is no other way around it. It is used either when making an order (Example 4a), a decision (Example 3a) or when making a objective statement (Example 5).
Example 3a. 我今天必须去上班。 [phr] Today I must go to work.
Example 4a. 听着，你现在必须马上去看医生。 [phr] Listen, you must go to see the doctor right now!
Example 5. 想减肥的话，必须要多运动。 [phr] You have to do more exercise if you want to lose weight.
We can use 应该 to replace 必须 in Example 3 and 4, but then the sentence, originally an order, will be turned into a suggestion/ opinion (Example 3b and 4b).
Example 3b. 我今天应该去上班。 [phr] Today I should go to work.
Example 4b. 听着，你现在应该马上去看医生。 [phr] Listen, you should go to see the doctor right now!
And vice versa: if we use 必须 instead of 应该, the sentence will take on the tone of an order (Example 2b).
Example 2b. 你必须参观天安门广场。 [phr] You must visit the Tian'anmen Square. (There is no other choice for you but to visit the Tian’anmen Square. You must do this.)
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