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I should know

Discussion in 'English Only' started by wanabee, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. wanabee Senior Member

    Japanese
    Dear all,

    After someone has paraded their special knowledge about some topic, they might (ironically?) add "I should know." Could someone tell me what the "I should know" means?
    I would appreciate any comments.
     
  2. Madrid829 Senior Member

    Ohio
    US English, Great Lakes area
    It means that they think they have some experience that qualifies them as an expert on something (which may or may not be the case).

    If you say it seriously you might sound pretentious, depending on the context. But you can also say it in a self-deprecating way. For example, my father-in-law has been married six times and divorced five. I could imagine him offering my husband advice on marriage and then saying, jokingly, "I should know—I've been married six times." :)
     
  3. perpend Senior Member

    American English
    I agree with Madrid.

    I also find that it's a way to say:
    If anyone knows, I do.
    This is right up my alley.
    This is my bread and butter.
    I know all about this.
     
  4. wanabee Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thank you very much, Madrid and perpend!

    Which definition or definitions of "should" would apply to the expression "I should know"?
    should aux.v. Past tense of shall 1. Used to express obligation or duty: You should send her a note. 2. Used to express probability or expectation: They should arrive at noon. 3. Used to express conditionality or contingency: If she should fall, then so would I. 4. Used to moderate the directness or bluntness of a statement: I should think he would like to go.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
     
  5. Madrid829 Senior Member

    Ohio
    US English, Great Lakes area
    #2 is the closest. You are expressing probability or expectation that you know something based on experience.
     
  6. wanabee Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thank you very much, Madrid!
     
  7. Madrid829 Senior Member

    Ohio
    US English, Great Lakes area
    Sure thing :)
     

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