Should Tom have gone to the dentist yesterday?

akkii

Member
Japanese
The following two sentences are ina Japanese dictionary.

1. Should Tom have gone to the dentist yesterday?

This kind of question sounds awkward to me, doesn't it? Also, "gone" should be "been" and "the dentist" should be "the dentist's office"?

2. Did Tom have to go to the dentist's office yesterday?

I rewrited the 1 as 2, but still feels the difference. 1 implies Tom actually went to the office yesterday, but it might not have been necessary. I am not sure about 2.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    1 It's fine as it is. Personally, I'd use "to the dentist's".
    .
    2 The meaning may be slightly different. Without context I'm not sure what either of sentences implies.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1. Should Tom have gone to the dentist’s yesterday? :tick: :thumbsup:
    2. Did Tom have to go to the dentist yesterday? :tick: (BE version)

    It’s nearly 10 o’clock. Isn’t Tom supposed to be at the dentist’s surgery?
    Yes, he should have been there by now! He must have forgotten [that] he had an appointment.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I understand sentence 1 as saying that Tom was reluctant to go. He is one of those people who avoids the dentist, if possible. He had some tooth pain yesterday but thought the problem would go away. But instead, it's worse today. So the question someone is asking is:

    1. Should Tom have gone to the dentist yesterday?

    Was it a bad idea for him to wait?

    The sentence is perfectly grammatical and idiomatic to me in American English.

    Sentence 2 has a different meaning than sentence 1.

    Sentence 1 is asking for an opinion about whether he should not have waited.

    Sentence 2 is not asking that question. It's asking whether he was required to go. It doesn't say who might have required it.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The following two sentences are ina Japanese dictionary.
    What two sentences? You list (1) as one sentence, but you say that you wrote (2). So what are the two sentences in the dictionary?

    This kind of question sounds awkward to me, doesn't it? Also, "gone" should be "been" and "the dentist" should be "the dentist's office"?
    The sentence is correct. It shouldn't be changed. There are many different sentences that could be used in English. One is not "better" than another. We say "went to" or "visited" or "been to". We say "the dentist" or "the dentist's office".

    I assume the purpose is translation, and this is about "should". This question asks for the listener's opinion. Does the listener think that Tom "should" have done this?
     
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