Ought to


“Ought” is a modal verb, and it has the same meaning as “should”. It can be used to express a moral obligation or desirability, and probability.

First, expressing an obligation and something that is desirable:

  • I ought to do it (debería hacerlo).
  • He ought to have known it (debía saberlo).
  • You ought to be grateful (deberías estar agradecido).
  • Mr. Podemos ought to have apologised to Mr. Sanchez (…debería haberle disculpado a…).
  • Mr. Corbyn ought not to have said that (…no debería haber dicho eso).

Now, probability:

  • The students ought to be there by now (… y deberían de haber llegado).
  • Mr. Sanchez ought to win the election (…debería ganar…).

Please note that “ought” requires the preposition “to” to follow, whereas “should” does not have that requirement.


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