I should be grateful/I would be grateful

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Prower, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Prower Banned

    Do they mean the same? If yes, could you comment on the matter, why are there two possible options? Does it have to do with a style, geographic position of a speaker or something else?

    I should be grateful if you would kindly send me your latest catalogue.

    I would be grateful if you kindly sent me your latest catalogue.
  2. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    At school I was told (wrongly) that I ought to say "I/we shall" but "you/he will".
    The same applies to should and would.
    I think that nowadays most people would say would.

    Of course, there may be regional variations.

    I would prefer to say "I would be grateful if you could/would send me....".
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It follows the same rules and pattern of use as shall/will.

    For more information see the many threads on should would. I've picked out some good ones :)
    Should or would - "I should like to book a double room ...

    Should or would? The strange British usage of "should" and "would"
    This thread also introduces the sense of "should" meaning "ought to".


    You may find this thread useful too:
    Conditional (2): Would in if clause. If you would send me the confirmation order, I'd be very grateful.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  4. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    As discussed in the first of Panjandrum's linked topics ("I should like to...") "would" has replaced the "classically" correct "should" in many cases in contemporary English. In such cases, such as above, where would is used instead of should, they mean the same thing.

    In "I should like..." should is the plain future. H W Fowler stated that it is not necessary to use would in this phrase, as the mood (of preference) is expressed with like: one therefore only need use the plain future shall. However, I think "I would be grateful" should be considered incorrect for a different reason: to be grateful does not express a preference or desire, so the use of would would not be redundant (as it is with like); however is it possible or meaningful to use a mood of preference or desire in regard to being grateful? That is, does it make sense to say "I wish to be grateful"? I think ordinarily it does not, so "I should be grateful" is the correct usage in the "classic" system. In current English "I should.." pronounced in full sounds formal or old-fashioned (to most people, I should say), and "I would.." is more common, but the problem is neatly dispensed with by the usual contraction "I'd", which can stand for either.

    I'm not really sure why this change has come about. Perhaps it's merely a simplification: the usage of will and shall have always been difficult to fully master, and even the most accomplished and literate writers have made errors in their usage.

Share This Page