ought - definition

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ought - definition



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ought


Frequency: The word is one of the 3000 most common words in English.
Note: 'Ought to' is a phrasal modal verb. It is used with the base form of a verb. The negative form of 'ought to' is 'ought not to', which is sometimes shortened to 'oughtn't to' in spoken English.
1.
You use ought to to mean that it is morally right to do a particular thing or that it is morally right for a particular situation to exist, especially when giving or asking for advice or opinions.
Mark, you've got a good wife. You ought to take care of her...
You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You've created this problem.
= should
PHRASE
2.
You use ought to when saying that you think it is a good idea and important for you or someone else to do a particular thing, especially when giving or asking for advice or opinions.
You don't have to be alone with him and I don't think you ought to be...
You ought to ask a lawyer's advice...
We ought not to be quarrelling now.
= should
PHRASE
3.
You use ought to to indicate that you expect something to be true or to happen. You use ought to have to indicate that you expect something to have happened already.
'This ought to be fun,' he told Alex, eyes gleaming.
= should
PHRASE
4.
You use ought to to indicate that you think that something should be the case, but might not be.
By rights the Social Democrats ought to be the favourites in the election. But nothing looks less certain...
Though this gives them a nice feeling, it really ought to worry them.
= should
PHRASE
5.
You use ought to to indicate that you think that something has happened because of what you know about the situation, but you are not certain.
He ought to have reached the house some time ago.
= should
PHRASE
6.
You use ought to have with a past participle to indicate that something was expected to happen or be the case, but it did not happen or was not the case.
Basically the system ought to have worked...
The money to build the power station ought to have been sufficient.
PHRASE
7.
You use ought to have with a past participle to indicate that although it was best or correct for someone to do something in the past, they did not actually do it.
I realize I ought to have told you about it...
Perhaps we ought to have trusted people more...
I ought not to have asked you a thing like that. I'm sorry...
I'm beginning to feel now we oughtn't to have let her go away like that.
PHRASE
8.
You use ought to when politely telling someone that you must do something, for example that you must leave.
I really ought to be getting back now...
I think I ought to go.
= should
PHRASE



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