Short Story: Options 2


 Read the original story without the comments: Auxiliaries in English - A Story

 Part Two

Time was passing. Mary thought, ‘I SHOULD/MUST head for school immediately. I COULD/CAN always give the cash to the security people after school. Maybe it WOULD/WILL be better to do that.’

SHOULD/MUST: Both indicate obligation; CAN is acceptable here; WOULD/WILL ‘will’ is doubtful but often used.

She decided to follow this plan; after all, no one WOULD suspect her of wanting to keep the money. She smiled to herself, convinced that this was what she SHOULD/OUGHT to do.

SHOULD/OUGHT to, are synonyms of course.

The security man spoke to his colleague by radio, ‘You MUST stop the woman with the bag – she MIGHT/MAY/COULD be a thief. Don’t worry,I’llcome down to help you.’ He left his office and ran downstairs. He stopped Mary,

MUST because he’s giving an order; MIGHT/MAY/COULD, all express possibility. “I’ll come down…”(I will come down) could also be “I’m going to come down…”

‘Excuse me, CAN/MAY/COULD I see what you have in your bag?’

CAN/MAY/COULD. In a question like this ‘may’ and ‘could’ sound more polite.

Mary COULD feel her face flushing red. She knew she SHOULD/OUGHT to explain the position to the man and he WOULD/MIGHT understand. Instead, she pushed him as hard as she COULD. He fell over, shocked. Mary COULD feel a rush of blood to her head.

WOULD/MIGHT: ‘would’ is an optimistic presumption by Mary; ‘might’ correctly expresses the uncertainty. The last 'could' is the past tense of 'can'.

‘I SHOULD/MUST be sensible,’ she thought, as she jumped over the man’s inert body and ran out of the mall as fast as her legs WOULD/COULD carry her.

SHOULD/MUST: as above.