英会話ワンポイントレッスン24. トーク・アベニュー新宿 "Should" vs. "Must" and "Have to"

"Should" vs. "Have to" and "Must"

Should is often used incorrectly to describe a situation where some action is required. For example:
  • Tomorrow I should go to the ward office and pay my taxes.
This sentence, while grammatically it has no problem, does not give the urgency and sense of requirement that the speaker probably intends. That is because the word "should" is used in situations to mean "it would be good", or "the best thing would be". For example, we should all exercise regularly for our health. It would be good for us to all exercise, but if we don't, there is no dramatic consequence. It is not required.

Other examples of "should" used appropriately in a sentence include:
  • You should brush your teeth before you go to bed.
  • I should go to work early today because I will probably have a lot of emails to sort through..
  • Tom knew that he shouldn't eat any more cake, but he did anyway.
Again...in all of the above sentences, should means that it would be good to do or to not do something.

If you mean that doing or not doing something is a requirement, usually with a much more severe consequence for failure, then "must" or "have to" is the correct grammar. For example, the first sentence above should read:
  • Tomorrow I have to go to the ward office and pay my taxes.
  • Tomorrow I must go to the ward office and pay my taxes.
Because if the speaker does not go and pay their taxes, there will be a large penalty, or possibly jail time! It is required that they go to pay their taxes. Other examples include:
  • We must go through airport security before we can board the airplane.
  • You must arrive at the office by 6:45am to unlock the front door.
  • Before we send the proposal to the client, we have to send it to the compliance office for them to approve.
"Must" and "Have to" sentences indicate a required action.

Be careful of confusing the "it would be good" meaning of "should" with the "it is required" meaning of "have to" or "must". When used correctly, they are two similar but very different ideas that can enhance your ability to communicate effectively.

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英会話ワンポイントレッスン23. トーク・アベニュー新宿 Frequency - "Every Other"

"Every other" is a useful phrase when talking about frequency which implies the following pattern:
x / o / x / o / x / o / x / o ..... etc.

In contrast, just "Every" is used when talking about the following pattern:
x / x / x / x / x / x / x / x ... etc.

"Every other" can be used to speak about frequency of how often you do something, such as:
  • Every other Saturday Tom plays golf with his friends

  • Every other year Cindy travels to Russia to visit her family

In the first example, Tom plays golf one sunday, then the next sunday he does not, and the next sunday he plays again. Tom plays golf twice a month, every other Saturday.

In the second example, Cindy travels to Russia one year, then the next year she does not, and the following year she travels again. Both of the examples follow the pattern: x / o / x / o / x / o / x / o .....

Other examples of how "every other" can be used are:
  • Every other person waiting in line will receive a free donut.

  • Every other customer who walks in the front door seems to have a complaint!

  • Every other microchip is pulled from the assembly line and inspected for quality.

"Every other" is an extremely useful expression to use when it is needed. It allows for greater accuracy in your expressions, and greater accuracy allows better communication.

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英会話ワンポイントレッスン22. トーク・アベニュー新宿 "Much", "Many", and "A lot"

"Much", "Many", "A lot"

"Much", "many", and "a lot" are all similar terms which indicate a large quantity or number. The way in which they are used, however, is slightly different and depends on whether your noun is countable or uncountable.

Uncountable nouns do not have separate singular and plural forms, because they nouns cannot be counted. Examples of uncountable nouns are water, time, clothes, money, or love.

Countable nouns have separate singular an plural forms, and can be counted. Examples include bottle, minute, shirt, yen, or hug.


"Many" is used with countable nouns, in both the negative and positive form. For example:
  • John has many of cats in his house.
  • We don't have many bottles of water left.
  • There are many people waiting in line over there.

"Much" is used with uncountable nouns, and is generally used only in the negative form. For example:
  • We don't have much water.
  • There isn't much time left, so we had better hurry.
  • I won't have much money until the end of this month.
  • NOTE: "I have much money" sounds bad, and native speakers will not say this, even though it is grammatically correct

"A lot"
can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns, and in negative or positive form. Therefore, it is very useful. For example:
  • We have a lot of time left until the movie starts.
  • Tom doesn't have a lot of money, so let's pay for his dinner.
  • There is still a lot of beer left in the bottle.
  • There aren't a lot of people at the theater tonight.


As you can see, "a lot" is useful since it can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns. Much is used with non-countable, but is only normally used in the negative "not much" form. And "many" is only used with countable nouns. Improving your understanding of which words to use, as well as your understanding of countable and uncountable nouns, will take you one step closer to being an excellent English speaker.

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