Ought to

Xatufan   Monday, June 14, 2004, 00:29 GMT
"Ought to" is a wonderful modal verb. It shows all the beauty of the Middle Ages. Oh, what a fabulous verb! And it forms some magnific questions like:

Ought Angel to marry Tess? (They are the two characters of Tess of D'Urbervilles of Thomas Hardy)
Ought I to eat my Tres Leches dessert? (It is a traditional dessert of Latin America)

I think we ought to give tribute to this beauty of word (two words, actually). There are less fans from this verb than Imelda Marcos's shoes, but who cares? We ought to make a sculpture to this unique and perfect verb, oh!

PS: Please, please, please, you ought to write your comments!
Sonic   Monday, June 14, 2004, 00:39 GMT
What Xatufan says is true, "should" is very stupid and "ought to" should be mentioned everywhere!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Boy   Monday, June 14, 2004, 05:43 GMT
but I guess there is a subtle diff between those words. When you use "ought to", basically you are giving a sort of warning to someone to do something and it is not true with the case of "should".

"You ought to finish your homework on time." it means that you MUST finish it on time.

"You should finish your homework on time." It means that you TRY to finish it on time. There will be no penalty if you don't do it. I don't know how they are interchangeable.

Tell me if I'm wrong?
Someone   Monday, June 14, 2004, 05:50 GMT
I didn't think there was a distinction, so I checked the dictionary. Dictionary.com says they're equivalent, and I'm inclined to take their word for it.
Jeff   Monday, June 14, 2004, 06:10 GMT
I don't care what your dict says,

ought to is a synonim for must,
those two indicate the same thing than you have to, you need to, you are obligated to,

You have to make your homework.
You need to see a doctor.
You must bring those boxes downstair.

while should sounds more like a suggestion ,or like somethin' that you're supposed to do, but not obligated.

You should make your homework.
You should see a doctor.
You should bring those boxes downstair.

Totally different, even if your dict says different.
Might Mick   Monday, June 14, 2004, 06:11 GMT
Both sentences look and sound badly formed. In any case, "to" doesn't belong to either.

Ought Angel <to> marry Tess?
Ought I <to> eat my Tres Leches dessert?

(remove the <to> from both)

The following is better:
Should Angel marry Tess?
Should I eat my Tres Leches dessert?
mjd   Monday, June 14, 2004, 06:18 GMT
Frankly, Jeff, I'm inclined to agree with the dictionary and, as a native speaker, we freely interchange "ought" and "should" all the time. Take a look at what Dictionary.com says:

"Used to indicate obligation or duty: You ought to work harder than that.
Used to indicate advisability or prudence: You ought to wear a raincoat.
Used to indicate desirability: You ought to have been there; it was great fun.
Used to indicate probability or likelihood: She ought to finish by next week."

Now...if my boss were to say to me: "You ought to work harder than that." Yes, this does convey obligation or the feeling that I must do something.

However, it's common to hear something like this:

"You ought to eat your lunch outside. It's such a beautiful day out."

This sentence is synonymous to "You should eat your lunch outside. It's such a beautiful day out."

Jeff says: "Totally different, even if your dict says different."

Well, perhaps you need to reread what the dictionary says, Jeff. "Obligation", "advisability", "desirability". In other words, it can relate all of these ideas depending on the context.
Might Mick   Monday, June 14, 2004, 06:32 GMT
To conclude, you cannot use "ought" to form a question. A question is formed using "should".

Should Angel marry Tess?
Angel ought to marry Tess.

Should I eat my Tres Leches dessert?
I ought to eat my Tres Leches desert.
kim   Monday, June 14, 2004, 13:50 GMT
hi, mjd star :)
I'm learnig very much from your reply all the time.

I have a question for you

it's about 'if my boss were to say' in the middle of your reply.
In that sentence, what's 'were(be verb) to' supposed to mean?
Is that a usual way to say something you intend to mean?
Orion   Monday, June 14, 2004, 16:51 GMT
Kim: "If" + "were" in English is like the subjuntive in other languages.

So mjd is implying, "My boss has not said [something], but suppose he did say [something]"

Another example:
"I am not rich."
"I was never rich in the past"
"But If I _were_ rich, I would buy a big boat" ("I am not rich, but suppose I am")

"No soy rico"
"Yo nunca era rico en el pasado"
"Pero, si yo _furea_ rico, compraría un barco grande"
Jeff   Monday, June 14, 2004, 18:00 GMT
My bad,
i wrote that message late at night,
Xatufan   Tuesday, June 15, 2004, 17:00 GMT
I have the following reform:

For the future, use shall for I and we, and will for other persons.

For the conditional, use should for I and we, and would for other persons.

For advice, etc., use should in questions and ought to in positive and negative statements.

Doesn't it sound good?
Jeff   Tuesday, June 15, 2004, 17:14 GMT
No, it doesn't,
shall is wack.
Xatufan   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 02:33 GMT
Jeff: If "wack" means something bad, let me tell you it is not. "Shall" is beautiful and ancient people used it a lot. For example:

"I shall leave you. I shall go to Brazil."
"I will leave you. I will go to Brazil."

It's obvious the first sentence is better. Why? Because it sounds like a classic English story. The second sentence sounds vulgar and ugly.
Orion   Thursday, June 17, 2004, 03:01 GMT
Xatufan: Both are correct, but classically (that is, traditionally) those sentences meant slightly different things.

"I shall go to Brazil"
means just that. You're going to Brazil at some point in the future.

"I will go to Brazil"
means you are definitely going to Brazil. You're commited. No changing your mind. You're determined to go to Brazil.

Nowadays, you'd have a very difficult time finding someone who understands or cares about the difference. Americans, for example, have basically completely abandoned "shall."