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Modal verb should

Before beginning to study the subject, reflect the following...

  • 1

    You have enough money to travel.
    Are you ready to get out and start your trip?
    What are your plans?

    mapa de viaje
  • 2

    Just after we decide to travel, we usually search for information about the place, accommodation, transportation, typical food... We can read travel blogs or guidebooks but…

    destinos de viaje
  • 3

    …we can also ask our questions directly to local people on forums or social networks.

    In this unit you will learn how to ask and give suggestions for traveling.
    You will do the following activities:

    • Learn the grammar structure to express correct and incorrect ideas in affirmative, negative and
    interrogative form. • Read some tips to travel around London.
    • Listen to some tips for traveling to other countries.
    • Write some posts to ask and give recommendations to travel.
    • Record a voice message giving suggestions to buy souvenirs.

    búsqueda de lugares emblemáticos


At the end of this topic you will:
Use the modal auxiliary should in affirmative, negative and interrogative sentences to make basic suggestions and ask for advice to unknown people about events, daily and cultural activities from foreign countries.


The modal auxiliaries are words used to express: possibilities, permission, abilities, obligation, recommendation, etc. Their main characteristics are:

  • They are auxiliaries that never work as main verb in a sentence.
  • They do not have a conjugation in some tenses.

Click on each tab to observe the explanation

  • 1  Grammar presentation

    Should is used to give suggestions, advice, recommendations or to express what we think are right or wrong.

  • 2  Affirmative sentences

    Use "should" when something is a good idea for you to do it. Buena idea

  • 3  Negative senteces

    Use: “should not/ shouldn’t” when something is a bad idea for you to do it.

  • 4  Interrogative senteces

    To ask for advice we can make two types of questions:

    1. WH - questions (open questions).
    2. Yes/No questions.

Affirmative, Negative and Interrogative sentences

We will now study the construction of affirmative, negative, and interrogative sentences using the modal auxiliary should. Click on each tab to review the construction of these sentences.


YES/NO questions


Wh.. questions


One last thing…

It is important that you identify the pronunciation of the modal auxiliary should, because it has special characteristics. Click in the audio.

Pronunciation of should and shouldn´t


Activity 1

Traveling forums.

As we have reviewed, it is important to use the modal auxiliary should to ask for advice, for example, when we plan a trip.

Do you ask for suggestions in forums when you plan your trips?

Joshua wants to travel to London. She wrote her questions on a traveling forum. Read some posts that answer her questions. What suggestions did she receive?

Hello everyone, I’m traveling to London next summer, but it will be my first time in Europe.
Could you give me some suggestions?

Hi, Joshua!
You will love London. It is very easy to go around the city by public transportation. If you stay in London for a few days, you should get the ‘Oyster Card’ to pay the Tube and the bus.

Hello, Joshua!
To get an overview of the city, you should take a walking tour. There are many types of tours around some pubs, landmarks or if you like literature and detective stories, you should take the Jack The Ripper Walking Tour

Hi there!
If you want to experience how cosmopolitan London is, you should visit Candem Town. There are many cool and weird shops and you can eat food from different countries. You should spend some money on eccentric artworks.

Mike mentioned Candem Town so if you plan to buy souvenirs, you should buy them there. They are very cheap and unique. You shouldn’t buy alarm clocks or any souvenir made in China because they are poor quality. In case you want some food, you should check out the Borough Market, it is the best place to buy items like craft beers and truffle honey.


Activity 2

What should I do in Europe?

In conclusion, remember that the modal auxiliary should is a good tool to give and ask for advice.

Listen to the next audio in which 3 friends talk about a trip. You can listen to the audio as many times as you like. Once you are ready, perform the following

What should I do in Europe?


Activity 3

Asking for advice in writing

Do you remember the post where Joshua asked for advice to travel to London?

Did you notice the use of the modal auxiliary should in his requests and in the suggestions he received?

In this activity you will write a post similar to the one Joshua wrote, follow the next instruction:

  • You want to travel somewhere, it can be a city in Mexico or another country.
  • Write a 30- 50 word post with at least five questions asking for trip tips using the modal auxiliary should.
  • Use the following rubric to evaluate your work.
  • You can only do the exercise once.

First look at the example:


I’m going on a trip to Zacatecas soon and I do not know anything about that city. I need to know what to do, where and how.

What should I do there?


Hey there! I am from Zacatecas and you should know it is cold there in winter; you should definitely take a warm coat and gloves.

You shouldn’t lose the opportunity to get a ride on the railway, which joins Cerro de la Bufa with Cerro del Grillo and offers a great view of the city.

When you finish, use this rubric and get your punctuation.


Activity 4

Giving advice by phone

Continuing with the topic of travel tips, remember that the modal auxiliary should allow us to express them and request them adequately.

In the following activity, your Japanese friend is visiting your country. He sent you a voice message saying that he wants to buy souvenirs for his/her mother.

Send him a voice message back and tell him/her your suggestions. Your message should last from 2 to 3 minutes answering the following questions:

Listen here to an example:

First write in a word document your answers. Now record your writing in the free application vocaroo.com Once the recording is finished, listen to it carefully. Please try to remark and pronounce the modal auxiliary should correctly.

When you finish your recording, evaluate it using the following rubric:


Should or shouldn’t?

Do you remember how to use the modal auxiliary should? In this topic, we checked the use of should in affirmative, negative and interrogative questions to give and ask for suggestions.


Basic references

• Murphy, R. (2007). Essential Grammar in Use. Cambridge University Press
• Eclectic English (2004). Should and Shouldn't. Section Grammar Reference and Practice Exercises. Eclectic English. Consulted on January 10, 2017 from https://bit.ly/2lS4A6w

Complementary references

• Oxford University Press (2016). Should / Shouldn’t. Section Level 3. Consulted on January 12, 2017 https://bit.ly/2mfJZtc
• EnglishExercises.org (n/y). Should and shouldn’t: giving advice. Section Sickness exercises. Consulted on January 9, 2017 https://bit.ly/2kUtEu4