Using the expression ‘ought to’ in English – ( Modal Auxiliary Verb) - English Grammar Lesson
‘Ought to’ is a modal auxiliary verb and its meaning changes depending on how it is used in a sentence. In this lesson you will learn the usage of this not so commonly use English expression – Ought to.
In this lesson, you are going to take a look at the various uses of ‘ought to’.
• Example: You ought to exercise more. ( a strong recommendation/advice)
• Example: She ought to receive the package tonight. (Probability)
• Example: James ought to get the promotion. (something expected to happen)
In the past, it is used with ‘have + a past participle verb’. It means something that should have happened, didn’t happen in the past.
• Example: You ought to have helped him. (you should have helped him, but you didn’t do your duty)
• Example: I ought to have studied medicine not physics. (I regret the past action of studying physics)
In the negative, ‘ought not’ is used without ‘to’.
• Example: You ought not smoke so much.
• Example: They ought not carry so much cash while travelling.
In the interrogative, ‘ought’ is placed before the subject and ‘to’ is not used. Generally, ‘should’ is more commonly used.
• Example: Ought she call the police? (‘Should she call the police?’ is a more common way of asking)
• Example: Ought we complete this now? (should is more commonly used in place of ‘ought’)