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Old 12-20-2011, 04:17 PM
Johanna Johanna is online now
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 12,586
Originally should is the conditional mood of shall. Just as would is the conditional mood of will.

The verbal auxiliary will literally meant that the subject of the verb is exercising their own will. Using shall as the auxiliary meant that the subject is not being given a choice in the matter. The legal usage of shall in mandatory provisions follows the latter meaning.

Should, it seems to me, is the weakest and most weaselly word in the English language. Should, as it's used in the present day, has nearly no meaning. Sentences made with should are insubstantial, squishy, and vague. So when I want to express with a modal verb construction that a given outcome is desirable, I use ought, which still retains some strength and clarity.