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should and could

English translation: should and could / could and should - an attitude or approach to life and problem solving

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:should and could
English translation:should and could / could and should - an attitude or approach to life and problem solving
Entered by: R. A. Stegemann
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05:01 Nov 2, 2008
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics / Multiple Modals and Punctuation
English term or phrase: should and could
Please consider the following sentence extracted from page 5 in the following document: http://homepage.mac.com/moogoonghwa/viewpoint/obama.pdf

"Alas, what should and could have been a quiet, secret, world-wide police action conducted in cooperation with the secret services of other national governments was turned into a daily televised nightmare of bombs, bravado, humiliation, horror, and tragedy visible to the entire world."

Is this a proper use of the modals should and could? Are any commas required?
R. A. Stegemann
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 23:26
should and could
Explanation:
I think it is correct without commas. Personally I wouldn't put them.
Selected response from:

Roland_Lelaj
Canada
Local time: 10:26
Grading comment
I would like to thank Roland, Carol, and Mara for their very helpful responses.

It was a great link Roland, a terrific example of discretionary modal order -- "A Radical in the White House: A Look at how America Should and Could have been if not for GREED" by Bob Herbert. He is one of my favorite NYT columnists!

http://kcdham2003.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!5B14137BA8AF86F!328.entry

Might it be Carol, David, and Suzan that people are generally more pragmatic, than they are moral? In short, they test the water to see what is feasible (could) before deciding which moral argument (should) they should use to justify their action.

As Tony correctly surmised, I tend to begin with should and end with could. In my case, anyway, it is not a feeling; rather, it is an approach to life. This appears to be the one part of me that is truly American -- a pragmatic dreamer, who begins with his dream and allows reality to shape the path he takes to achieve it.

Let me pause here for the comma that everyone agrees is unnecessary and congratulate the American public on their fine selection for the next President of the United States -- Barack Hussein OBAMA.

I only regret that writeaway has relegated this entry as non-Pro, but then he may be of the same mind and find the modal order (should and could) to be natural and therefore not of interest.

Finally, I would to express my thanks to everyone who gave their support to Roland and Carol -- especially those who explained why they made the choice that they did.

In my heart it is like New Year's already. I am once again proud to be an American. It has been a long time since I felt this way.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +11should and could
Roland_Lelaj
4 +2could and should
Carol Gullidge
Summary of reference entries provided
nothing wrong
Mara Ballarini

  

Answers


11 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +11
should and could


Explanation:
I think it is correct without commas. Personally I wouldn't put them.


    Reference: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org....
Roland_Lelaj
Canada
Local time: 10:26
Native speaker of: Native in AlbanianAlbanian
Grading comment
I would like to thank Roland, Carol, and Mara for their very helpful responses.

It was a great link Roland, a terrific example of discretionary modal order -- "A Radical in the White House: A Look at how America Should and Could have been if not for GREED" by Bob Herbert. He is one of my favorite NYT columnists!

http://kcdham2003.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!5B14137BA8AF86F!328.entry

Might it be Carol, David, and Suzan that people are generally more pragmatic, than they are moral? In short, they test the water to see what is feasible (could) before deciding which moral argument (should) they should use to justify their action.

As Tony correctly surmised, I tend to begin with should and end with could. In my case, anyway, it is not a feeling; rather, it is an approach to life. This appears to be the one part of me that is truly American -- a pragmatic dreamer, who begins with his dream and allows reality to shape the path he takes to achieve it.

Let me pause here for the comma that everyone agrees is unnecessary and congratulate the American public on their fine selection for the next President of the United States -- Barack Hussein OBAMA.

I only regret that writeaway has relegated this entry as non-Pro, but then he may be of the same mind and find the modal order (should and could) to be natural and therefore not of interest.

Finally, I would to express my thanks to everyone who gave their support to Roland and Carol -- especially those who explained why they made the choice that they did.

In my heart it is like New Year's already. I am once again proud to be an American. It has been a long time since I felt this way.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Michael Barnett: It is perfectly correct. Commas are not indicated.
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Michael!

agree  Jack Doughty
2 hrs
  -> Thank you, Jack!

agree  Elizabeta Zargi
2 hrs
  -> Grazie tanto Elisabeta!

agree  Mina Yekta
2 hrs
  -> Thank you, Mina!

agree  Patricia Townshend
2 hrs
  -> Thank you, Patricia!

agree  ruthiep
2 hrs
  -> Thank you, ruthiep!

agree  David Moore
3 hrs
  -> Thank you, David!

agree  Suzan Hamer
6 hrs
  -> Thank you, Susan!

agree  Tony M: Perfectly correct, and the order of the two modals places the stress on the right one, as I assume the author had chosen.
6 hrs
  -> Thank you, Tony!

agree  orientalhorizon
7 hrs
  -> Thank you, orientalhorizon!

agree  Phong Le
1 day2 hrs
  -> Thank You Phong!
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
could and should


Explanation:
It seems the wrong way round to me, in this context. This order gets almost 2m g-hits, whereas the other way round gets far fewer (although still quite a lot), many of them when part of a question: "could and should he become a doctor?" Ie, would he be able to become a doctor, and if so, is that what he should do?

The most normal order in an affirmative statement is "could and should", ie, it's not only possible, but also should be done.
In this context, a quiet police action was not only possible, but that is what ought to have happened.

Apart from that, there's nothing wrong with the term

Real Time Economics : ECB Official: Lehman's Collapse 'Could and ...21 Oct 2008 ... The failure of Lehman Bothers could and should have been avoided, said European Central Bank executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi in a ...
blogs.wsj.com/economics/2008/10/21/ecb-official-lehmans-collapse-could-and-should-have-been-avoided/ - 133k - Cached - Similar pages
SSRN-Law Firms Incorporated: How Incorporation Could and Should ...SSRN-Law Firms Incorporated: How Incorporation Could and Should Make Firms More Ethically Responsible by Christine Parker.
papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1098095 - Similar pages
by CE PARKER - 2004

Carol Gullidge
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:26
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 26

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Suzan Hamer: Don't think rules exist. I think either can be "correct." It's a matter of "feel." As in my reply to Mara: "....intuitive/native-speaker 'logic' tells me 'could.....should'. The event 'could have been conducted ...in fact, it SHOULD have been....'"
23 mins
  -> many thanks Suzan - that's the way I read it. I like the emphatic "in fact", which makes it totally clear

agree  orientalhorizon
31 mins
  -> thanks orientalhorizon!
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Reference comments


45 mins peer agreement (net): +4
Reference: nothing wrong

Reference information:
I think the use of modals here is perfectly fine and I don't think it requires any commas. :-)

Mara Ballarini
Australia
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Richard C. Baca, MIM
12 mins
  -> Thanks!
agree  David Moore: My only comment is on style as to word order; I'd have put the modals the other way round.// I agree entirely; it's a matter of taste, that's all.
1 hr
  -> Hi David. You mean could first and then should? although probably more natural I think this way is still possible
agree  Suzan Hamer: and with David. It is a matter of taste, but somehow intuitive/native-speaker "logic" tells me "could.....should". The event "could have been conducted in cooperation.....in fact, it SHOULD have been...."
5 hrs
  -> yes, as I was telling David, the other way around may sound more natural/logical, although I still think that in some cases, not necessarily this one, this way would put more emphasis on something
agree  orientalhorizon
7 hrs
  -> thanks
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Voters for reclassification
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PRO / non-PRO
Non-PRO (1): writeaway


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Changes made by editors
Nov 2, 2008 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


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