The modal auxiliary should has a
past form, should
is used before the past participle of a verb. When this
form is used, should and have
are very often contracted
should have been / should've
should have done / should've done
have worked / should've worked
should have stopped
/ should've stopped
This past form may also be
not have +
the past participle); the full negative with not is also
contracted to shouldn't have ( + past participle) very often:
should not have been / shouldn't
should not have done / shouldn't have
should not have worked / shouldn't have worked
shouldnot have stopped / shouldn't have stopped
Should have can show either advisability or expectation,
but with a special "twist" in meaning:
should have shows
was advisable or expected, but didn't
happen, while shouldn't have shows that something wasn't
or expected, but it happened.
Gloria should have studied last night.
(It was advisable for Gloria
to have studied last night,
but she didn't.)
Bob's plane should have
arrived over an hour ago.
(We expected Bob's plane to
arrive over an hour ago,
but it didn't arrive--and
it still hasn't arrived.)
Tanya shouldn't have said what she did.
(Although it wasn't advisable
for Tanya to have said
what she said, she did
You shouldn't have had any problems with my computer.
It was working perfectly the last time I used
(Because my computer was working
perfectly the last time
I used it, I didn't
expect you to have any problems with it.
In American English, should have and shouldn't
are used with all
the personal pronouns (I, you,
he, she, it, we,
I should have remembered.
You should have seen Luis!
have acted so foolishly!
Jennifer shouldn't have
worked when she was sick.
We should have left
ten minutes ago!
They shouldn't have left when
In fast, casual speech, should've is often "simplified"
that it sounds something like "shoulda." This form
is common in speaking, but it is not appropriate
most written work.
Similarly, shouldn't have is often "simplified" so
It sounds something like "shouldena."
Again, this form
is common in speaking, but not
appropriate for most
speakers sometimes write *should of or
of instead of
should've and shouldn't
have, but these forms are actually wrong.
and of are the same, and native speakers