SHOULD HAVE, COULD HAVE, WOULD HAVE – English Grammar – How to Use Should’ve, Could’ve and Would’ve

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Hi and welcome back. I’m Ganesh from and today
we’re going to talk about how to use should’ve, could’ve and would’ve

All three of these words are basically “should have,” “could have” and
“would have” so all of them have the verb “have” here but I’ve written
like this because when we speak we usually shorten that to should’ve,
could’ve and would’ve. Just that remember they have “have” in them.

These are all used to express regret about past decisions or actions.
What does regret mean? Regret means that we’re unhappy about a decision
or action in the past and that is the function of these words, and
all three of these are grammar words.

To understand these better, I have a decision or action over on this
side and I have a result over on the side – this is a situation that
we’re going to use to understand these words.

Have a look at the decision or action – “I didn’t study enough” and
the result was “I failed my exam” – now a student might say this.
I’ve heard a lot of students say this.

His teacher might tell him – “You should’ve studied more.” What does
she mean by that? Well she’s trying to say that she’s not happy about
his decision His decision was that he didn’t study enough.

By saying this, his teacher is saying the opposite of what happened.
So what happened? He didn’t study. She’s saying You should’ve studied more.

So what this does is it shows that you’re unhappy about the decision.
This can be “you” or this can be “I”. He might say, the student might
say, “I should’ve studied more.”

Or two people talking about him – maybe his teacher and another
teacher talking about him – his teacher might say, “Shane should’ve
studied more.” He didn’t study and he failed. Alright, so this can be
any subject.

Could’ve is just like should’ve but could’ve is a little softer. Have
a look at this example. He could’ve studied more but he didn’t. Maybe
this is his teacher saying this to another teacher.

And here, could’ve focuses on the possibility. That’s very important –
this sentence says that it was possible for him to study – he had the
time he had the materials, he had the books, he had everything. It
was possible but he didn’t do it.

And often could’ve is followed by this – “but he didn’t.” But it can
be used in another way. You can also use could’ve directly to someone
if you want to say that you’re not happy about their decision.

So you can say “You could’ve studied more.” What that does is that’s
a little softer than should’ve.

Compare the two – if I tell you “You should’ve studied more” Then it’s
a little strong. If I’m your teacher or parent that’s OK but if I’m
your friend, you might be a little offended. It might be a little rude,
so in that case you can use could’ve.

You can say “You could’ve studied more.” See, it’s a little softer.
So if you’re saying it to someone’s face, you can leave out the
“but” – no “but” You could have studied more. But if you’re talking
about someone else This is very common – “He could have studied more
but he didn’t.” Alright?

Would’ve is a little interesting because it’s just like should’ve and
could’ve because it’s used to express regret, but there’s one big
difference and the difference is – if you look at both should’ve and
could’ve, they refer only to the decision or the action – they’re
not talking about the result.

But would’ve talks both about the decision or the action, and the
result. So if you want to talk about both of those, you use would’ve.

Have a look at the sentence “If Shane had studied more, he would’ve
passed the exam. You can see that the decision or the action is over
here – If “Shane had studied more,” The reality is he didn’t study –
so this is the opposite of this, and then he would have passed the

This is the opposite of this over here. He failed the exam
but “If Shane had studied more, he would’ve passed the exam.” Notice
this “had” over here That’s very important, because that’s what
really shows that we’re talking about the past. So don’t leave that
out, OK? Remember that.

And then of course you have “He would’ve passed the exam.” Now we’re
going to move on and look at one more example, one more situation.
But before we do that, I want you to notice the form over here.