Can You Start a Sentence With “Should”?

For years, there has been a debate among language enthusiasts about whether it's appropriate to commence a sentence with the word "should." This article seeks to dispel any confusion surrounding the use of "should" at the start of a sentence. Read on to discover the correct usage of "should," learn about common misconceptions, and find out whether it's acceptable to kick off a sentence with this term.

The Role of "Should" in a Sentence

"Should" is a modal verb commonly used in English sentences. It primarily expresses obligations, recommendations, or hypothetical situations. Its versatility allows it to be utilized in a variety of contexts, whether you're suggesting a course of action, predicting an outcome, or expressing regret about past events.

Instances Where Starting With "Should" Works Well

There are numerous instances where beginning a sentence with "should" is not only acceptable but also effective. It can be used to suggest a possibility, give advice, or express an expectation. Its usage at the start of a sentence can add emphasis and make a statement more impactful.

Sentence Explanation
Should you need any assistance, don't hesitate to ask. Here, "should" is used to convey a conditional meaning.
Should we win the lottery, we will buy a new house. In this case, "should" is used to indicate a hypothetical situation.
Should the weather be good, we will have a picnic. This sentence uses "should" as a way to express a possibility.
Should I be late, start without me. Here, "should" conveys a condition.
Should they fail to comply, we will take legal action. In this case, "should" is used to express an outcome based on a condition.

Instances Where Caution is Needed

While "should" can be used to initiate a sentence, there are instances where it may not be appropriate or it might make the sentence confusing. Be cautious when using "should" at the start of a sentence if it doesn't provide clarity or if it makes the sentence sound too formal or stilted.

Sentence Explanation
Should you be late, we will leave without you. This sentence might be confusing as it sounds like a threat rather than a conditional statement.
Should you have any problems, let me know. This sentence is grammatically correct but might sound overly formal in casual conversation.
Should the sun rise from the west, we will reconsider. This sentence is potentially confusing as the condition is unrealistic, making the use of "should" inappropriate.
Should we have further information, we will tell you. This sentence might be confusing as it's unclear whether it's a promise or a conditional statement.
Should the temperature fall below freezing, the school will be closed. This sentence is technically correct but could be made clearer by using "if" instead of "should".

Tips for Using "Should" at the Beginning of a Sentence

While it's acceptable to start a sentence with "should," it's important to use this term wisely. Ensure that the context makes the meaning clear. Avoid using "should" to start a sentence when it makes the statement sound overly formal or unrealistic.

  • Do use "should" at the beginning of a sentence to express a condition or a possibility.
  • Don't use "should" at the start of a sentence when it makes the context confusing or overly formal.
  • Do use "should" to start a sentence when you want to emphasize a point.
  • Don't use "should" to begin a sentence when the condition expressed is unrealistic.

Common Misconceptions and Myths

A common misconception is that starting a sentence with "should" is grammatically incorrect. This notion is untrue. While it's less common than using "should" in the middle of a sentence, its usage at the beginning of a sentence is still grammatically sound.

  • Myth: Starting a sentence with "should" is grammatically incorrect.
    Truth: "Should" can be used at the beginning of a sentence to express a condition or possibility. This usage is grammatically correct.
  • Myth: "Should" should only be used in questions.
    Truth: While "should" is often used in questions, it can also be used in statements to express a condition, possibility, or advice.


This article has explored the use of "should" at the beginning of a sentence. Based on our findings, it's clear that not only is it grammatically correct to start a sentence with "should," but it can also add emphasis and impact to your statement. Remember to consider your audience and the context in which you're writing to ensure your use of "should" is effective and meaningful.

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