Senior Member
Farsi, Iran
Whilst it was not unknown for a non-Japanese to head a significant Japanese company-foreigners had headed both Nissan and Mazda-it was rare that one should head an icon such as Sony.
Organisation Theory:Concepts and Cases By Stephen P. Robbins/Neil Barnwell, page 547.

How do you native speakers decide if should in the above indicates necessity or possibility?

  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Is it absolutely imperative that we should choose?;) (mandative "should")

    I believe this "should" is the analytical subjunctive.

    I was surprised that the authors of the book seem to be speakers of AE, but this is "alternative to the subjunctive" is typical of BE.

    Edit: 'Putative' should
    It's "attitudinal" or "emotive" I think, rather than an expression of necessity or possibility.
    Last edited:


    English - United Kingdom
    In real terms in this context the 'should' means something close to would or might, or even can. It's simply commenting on the possibility that a non-Japanese person would/might/can be the head of the car companies, at any point in time. It is some kind of subjunctive, for sure, although most native English speakers would not necessarily recognise it as such, as we don't generally spend a lot of time learning about or taking the time to understand the deeper aspects of our grammar. If you asked the average English native speaker on the street whether this is a subjunctive, or what kind of subjunctive it is, they most likely would not have a clue what you're talking about.
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