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Shall we discuss the definition or meaning of words in the past tense & what they mean in the future tense

Updated on June 20, 2012

Thou shall not or should not - shouldn't in the future misunderstand or misconstrue the meaning of the word "should"

Should one do so,ye shall be required to reinterpet the meaning.therof forthwith not withstanding the re-interpetation of forsaid meaning

The definition of the word "should " past present and future

Should's present tense is shall

Should's future tense either does not exist or is unkown - shall't thou remember this in the future? Or ,is the word "should " used in the future tense of shall, as well as, it's past tense? Such as, thou shouldn't or should have,should've done something in the past or should do something in the future ? Thou shalt not!

The dictionary definition of the word "should"

" Used as an auxiliary to express the condition,obligation or propriety,probability,or futurity from a point of view in the past" Apparently this means hindsight is 20/20.

What does thou think of the dodo who hath written this uncomprehensable sentancing?

Let me see now, (to express the condition).What does that mean?

Example ;

You "should" brush your teeth,if you expect them to stay in good condition?

If,should is the past tense of the word shall then why do we use the words should and have in conjuction ,such as you should have, we should have ,I should have or they should have?

Why not just say you could have,we could have,I could have or they could have?

The dictionary definition of the word "could " is used as an auxiliary in the past as a polite and less forceful alternative to the word can. It's the past tense for the word "can" .

The word "could" is to the word "can" as the word "should " is to the word "shall ".

If,the use of the word "should" or the word "could" is (to express futurity from a point of view in the past),as defined then most people must disagree with this concept since most people have used the words "should" and "could" from not only from a point of view in the past ,but also from the point of view of the future and almost never use it,or see it used in the present tense of "shall " although the word "can" has been is used extensively ,the word "shall" is not only under used ,but misunderstood except maybe in the legal profession where words sometimes are defined by the lawyers themselves in the context they define language.So much for clarity,and common definitions.

Shall we continue?

The dictionary definition of the word "shall"

" Shall " ; used as an auxiliary to express a command,what seems inevitable or likely in the future,simple futurity,or determination.The past tense of shall being "should"

Shall meaning something that should have been done or could have been done ,rather than something that "must" be done right away.which seems to me to be an oxymoron since the word shall in and of itself,"should" mean "NOW" or "MUST" rather than be thought of as something that's optional or voluntary ,rather than being manditory as it seems it was ment to convey

When used in conjunction with other words such as;

(Today you shall) ,(tomorrow you shall), (the next day you shall) or( I shall and we shall) all use the word "shall " and when used in a sentance as presented here can be used to refer to the past,present or furture as well as indicating something that is manditory,rather than optional. When we use the word should most of us think of the word "should" as being just that optional..

The words "should" and "shall",and the words "would" and "will" are these words synonymous,synchronous,systematic with each other?

If,we "should" -" we "shall" If,we "would" - we "will"

If,we "shant" - we "should" not - If,we "shall not" - "will" not. or "shouldn't" - we "won't"

If,we do - we "shall" - If,we "should" - we "will"

If,all of the above is true then "shall" the above be construed a "syllogism" ?

What about words like past ,present and future?

Do we have other words that can be used as an auxiliary?

"Yesterday" and "yesteryear",are the only words that come to mind as auxiliary words for the word "past "

"Now" or "today",is the only words I can think of to used as an auxiliary for the word " present ".

"Tomorrow", is the only word I can think of that can be used as an auxiliary to the word " future "

The only other possible use of these three words,past,present,and future that could indicate another time frame other than the one they individually represent,is when they are used together in a sentance.where they are compared to each other's meanings.

The word "future" could be used in place of the word, "tomorrow" unless one litterally means the next day.

The word "Today" could be,used in place of the word "present" unless one litterally means one particular day on the calander.


"Tomorrows past" is the "present" and "yesterdays past" is even further in the past. than the present or "yesteryear".

Is there such a concept as yesterday's future,today's future or tomorrows future ,yesterday's past,tomorrows past or the future's past'?

Is,there a difference between yesterdays future,todays future and tomorrows future?

If,the past has an effect on the present and the present has an effect on the future ,what does the future have an effect on? itself?

Is there such a thing as the future? If,not,then all there really is,is the present and that's all there really was or, is or will be, a constantly changing present.!


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    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 4 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      The phrases - "You are supposed to" or "You are expected to" can both be interchanged with the word "should" in the two examples I give here.They are more descriptive as well as understandable for most people to understand than using the word "Shall".

      Many people use the word "Should" as meaning "voluntary" rather than "required" as the word "Shall" implies. Even though the two words seem to have the opposite meaning they are also considered to have the same in meaning by some.

      In my opinion it's best to be as clear as possible when we want to convey something specific rather than leave the meaning up to the reader to decide what they think you mean.

      The word "Shall" is more demanding in it's meaning than the word "Should"and probably "Should" be used that way!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 4 years ago from South Africa

      English is my 2nd language - not my mother tongue. So please advice!

      Is should not also another word for "are/is supposed to", or 'must' as in - "You should brush your teeth every morning."

      "You shall brush your teeth" seems to be a rude order.

      "You must brush you teeth" also seems to be an order.

      "You should brush your teeth" seems to be advice.

      I am now totally confused! If I knew that I should have used shall instead of should, I would have passed my English exam...... ??? On the other hand, you should give me the opportunity to write another exam....



    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 7 years ago from home


      I should definitely say in the past, present and future tenses ... This hub made,makes will make my head hurt if I read it again, in whatever time I choose or happen to be in near or after.. I enjoyed reading it nonetheless. I shall (Ithink) read more of your Hubs. "Live Long and Prosper".


    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I see your point of view,however there are no immutable points in time.If,that were the case time would stop.Everything is always in a state of change.We,may not see that change as easily as we would like.

      The idea of the NOW is always changing.The past,present and future can all be changed by what what we do in the NOW.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      In that case -- we shall have. However, in writing we always choose an immutable point in time in which to express our story.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I get it ! Maybe you should also consider the possibility that the word should be referred to as the future perfect tense as well.If,you consider that time is always changing and past and future are connected and that we should reconsider the meaning of the word in the NOW!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi someone who knows, from someone who edits. We say should have as the past perfect tense, meaning something we should do but should have done in the past. Get it? Fun hub.

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      I like to think of time as circle with either no starting point and ending point or a circle with a starting and ending point.I think it all depends on our consciousness.

      We can seperate a circle into small segments,like we do with our calender into days,weeks,months,years,decades etc...but if the circle is infinitely large,we would be unable to see it in it's entirety on a macro scale,yet we can see a smaller circle on a micro scale in terms we can understand,seconds minutes hours,days ,weeks,months,years,decades,centuries,milleniums etc..once the numbers get this large or infintely small we have a more difficult "time" pun intended decerning what eternity would be composed of.It,has little meaning to us.It,would be like an insect that lives a few days,trying to understand the human time frame.

      Just as an infinitely small timeframe would have little meaning to us.

      Yet to an insect a second could be like a few years in perception compared to our frame of reference.

      To an insect we would seem ageless to say the least.

      It seems the younger we are time seems to by slower,and the older we get the faster it seems to go by.

      The same is true ,when we want something to last longer,or when we can't wait for time to pass quickly enough.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 8 years ago

      The present is where past and future converge. However according to the present theory of black holes being explained by Einsteins theory, there is really no such dimension as time. It is a construct..much like the whole world is, formed by our own collective agreement of a persistent illusion.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 8 years ago from Western Australia

      What a philosophical question? I love creative writing but English is not my native tongue, so I can say I bend it to my creative urges...English is one of those great dynamical everchanging languages that there is always future for English. I speak two other old European languages which are very strictly coded and no change is allowed in them, I think they are on a 'dying path' but English has a bright future in front of it, if future exists?

      Thank you for your insightful answer about Chinesse success on the hub pages. If you have time to spare please invite me on my blogs:

    • greatAmerican profile image

      greatAmerican 8 years ago

      Was it not our former President Clinton who said "it depends on what your definition of 'IS' ,, is"!!

      ah yes, what is in a word?

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image

      Wealthmadehealthy 8 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      My goodness, I was in honors English and reading this made me remember a lot of things.....very good "creative" writing here...and for all of you who do not know how to conjugate verbs, take a lesson!! LOL Great hub!!! (should lol it be and ever changing past??? rofl)