on August 3, 2018 , Comments Off on Using Would Have, Could Have, Should Have – Video
In this lesson, you can learn how to use would have, should have and could have.
These verbs—would, should, could, etc.—are modal verbs, so they don’t have past forms like normal verbs do. Instead, you can talk about the past by adding have plus a past participle after the verb.
In this class, you’ll learn how to use these modal verbs to talk about the past in English, what they mean, and how they’re different.
QUIZ: Would Have, Could Have, Should Have
Now, test your knowledge of what you learned in the lesson by trying this quiz. There are 20 questions. You will get your score at the end, when you can click on ‘View Questions’ to see all the correct answers and explanations.
Time limit: 0
0 of 20 Questions completed
You have already completed the quiz before. Hence you can not start it again.
In these examples, you want to criticise the other person for something they didn’t do.
Finally, you can use could have to mean that somebody was lucky to avoid a bad situation in the past:
It’s just a scratch, but you could have really hurt yourself.
We were really late, and we could have missed our plane, but luckily we just made it.
Let’s review quickly. Could have has four different meanings. Can you remember them?
You can use could have to talk about the imaginary past, to guess about something in the past which you aren’t sure about, to criticise someone for something they didn’t do, and to say that someone was lucky to avoid a bad situation.
Next, what about should have?
3. Should Have
You just saw that could have can be used to criticise someone. Should have is similar, but you can use it in a wider variety of ways.
Like could have, you can use it to criticise something that someone didn’t do in the past:
You should have called me like you promised.
He should have checked the recipe before he started cooking.
They should have practiced taking penalties before the match.
You can also use it to criticise something that someone did:
You shouldn’t have drunk so much at the wedding!
She shouldn’t have left everything to the last minute.
You can even use it to criticise yourself, if you regret something which you did in the past:
I should have realised what was going on.
I shouldn’t have said that.
You can also use should have to apologise to someone. If you say I shouldn’t have said that, you’re admitting that you made the wrong choice, and that you regret it.
This is the most common use of should have: criticising others or yourself, and talking about things you regret in the past.
However, it has one more meaning. Look at three examples. Can you work out what should have means here?
They should have been here by now.
It should have been ready an hour ago.
The plane should have landed at seven thirty.
Can you see what should have means here?
Here, you use should have to talk about something which you expected to happen, but it didn’t happen.
They should have been here by now means that you expected them to have arrived before now, but you’re still waiting.
It should have been ready an hour ago means that you expected everything to be ready earlier. Maybe you’re cooking something, and it’s taking much longer than you thought it would.
The plane should have landed at seven thirty means that you expected the plane to land then, but it didn’t. Probably, you mean that the plane is late, and you’re still waiting for it.
Now, you should have learned two different ways to use should have. Let’s practice using would have, could have and should have together.
4. Would Have, Could Have, Should Have
M: You should have told me your friends were coming! I would have made some extra food.
S: Sorry! I would have called you, but I had no phone credit. I should have topped up before we went out.
M: What are we going to eat? We don’t have much in the fridge.
S: I should have stopped and got a takeaway on the way. Not to worry: we’ll order something.
S: Where’s the food? I’m so hungry! They should have come by now, right?
M: They’re probably just busy.
S: They could have forgotten. They would have called if there was a problem, don’t you think?
M: Relax! You should have had a snack when you got in. It’ll be here soon.
S: That was delicious! I’ve never had such a good meal.
M: You could have left some for me. What am I supposed to eat?
S: Oh… I’m so sorry! I would have left some if I’d known you wanted some. I should have asked.
M: Yeah, you should have. Oh well, there’s half a cucumber in the fridge, I think.
Look at three sentences from the dialogues. Can you explain what they mean?
I would have made some more food.
They could have forgotten.
I should have asked.
The first sentence is talking about the imaginary past. It means that if I had known you were bringing guests, I would have made some more food. But, in reality, I didn’t know, so I didn’t make enough food.
The second sentence is talking about something you aren’t sure about in the past. Do you remember the situation? We were waiting for our takeaway to arrive. It was late, and we didn’t know what had happened. You use could have here to make a guess about something in the past when you don’t know what happened.
The third sentence is a criticism, or an expression of regret. If you say this, you mean that you made a mistake in the past.
Think back to the dialogues. Did we use should have or could have in any other ways?
Look at two more sentences:
They should have come by now.
You could have left some for me.
What do should have and could have mean here?
Here, should have means that something didn’t happen the way you expected. You expected the food to be here by now, but it isn’t.
Could have is used to criticise something which someone else didn’t do.
Now, hopefully you understand how to use would have, could have and should have.