ought


ought
[[t]ɔ͟ːt[/t]]
♦♦♦
(Ought to is a phrasal modal verb. It is used with the base form of a verb. The negative form of ought to is ought not to, which is sometimes shortened to oughtn't to in spoken English.)
1) PHR-MODAL You use ought to to mean that it is morally right to do a particular thing or that it is morally right for a particular situation to exist, especially when giving or asking for advice or opinions.

Mark, you've got a good wife. You ought to take care of her...

The people who already own a bit of money or land ought to have a voice in saying where it goes...

You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You've created this problem.

Syn:
2) PHR-MODAL You use ought to when saying that you think it is a good idea and important for you or someone else to do a particular thing, especially when giving or asking for advice or opinions.

You don't have to be alone with him and I don't think you ought to be...

You ought to ask a lawyer's advice...

She wondered if she ought to take some coffee out to Alfred...

We ought not to be quarrelling now.

Syn:
3) PHR-MODAL You use ought to to indicate that you expect something to be true or to happen. You use ought to have to indicate that you expect something to have happened already.

`This ought to be fun,' he told Alex, eyes gleaming.

Syn:
4) PHR-MODAL You use ought to to indicate that you think that something should be the case, but might not be.

By rights the Social Democrats ought to be the favourites in the election. But nothing looks less certain...

Though this gives them a nice feeling, it really ought to worry them.

Syn:
5) PHR-MODAL (vagueness) You use ought to to indicate that you think that something has happened because of what you know about the situation, but you are not certain.

He ought to have reached the house some time ago.

Syn:
6) PHR-MODAL You use ought to have with a past participle to indicate that something was expected to happen or be the case, but it did not happen or was not the case.

Basically the system ought to have worked...

The money to build the power station ought to have been sufficient.

Syn:
should have
7) PHR-MODAL You use ought to have with a past participle to indicate that although it was best or correct for someone to do something in the past, they did not actually do it.

I realize I ought to have told you about it...

Perhaps we ought to have trusted people more...

I ought not to have asked you a thing like that. I'm sorry...

I'm beginning to feel now we oughtn't to have let her go away like that.

Syn:
should have
8) PHR-MODAL (politeness) You use ought to when politely telling someone that you must do something, for example that you must leave.

I really ought to be getting back now...

I think I ought to go.

Syn:

English dictionary. 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ought — [ ɔt ] modal verb *** Ought is usually followed by to and an infinitive: You ought to tell the truth. Sometimes it is used without to or a following infinitive in a formal way: I don t practice as often as I ought. It is also used in an informal… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ought to — W2S1 [ˈo:t tu: US ˈo:t ] modal v [: Old English; Origin: ahte, past tense of agan; OWE] 1.) used to say that someone should do something because it is the best or most sensible thing to do = ↑should ▪ You really ought to quit smoking. ▪ The… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Ought — Ought, imp., p. p., or auxiliary. [Orig. the preterit of the verb to owe. OE. oughte, aughte, ahte, AS. [=a]hte. [root]110. See {Owe}.] 1. Was or were under obligation to pay; owed. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] This due obedience which they ought to the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ought To Go — Breed Quarter Horse Discipline Racing Sire Go Man Go Grandsire …   Wikipedia

  • ought — In current use the verb ought is followed by a to infinitive: • You ought to have a cooked breakfast, these cold mornings David Lodge, 1988. Since it is a modal verb, it forms a negative directly with not and forms a question by plain inversion:… …   Modern English usage

  • ought — ought1 [ôt] v.aux. used with infinitives and meaning: 1. to be compelled by obligation or duty [he ought to pay his debts ] or by desirability [you ought to eat more] 2. to be expected or likely [it ought to be over soon]: Past time is expressed… …   English World dictionary

  • ought — ► MODAL VERB (3rd sing. present and past ought) 1) used to indicate duty or correctness. 2) used to indicate something that is probable. 3) used to indicate a desirable or expected state. 4) used to give or ask advice. USAGE The standard… …   English terms dictionary

  • ought — ought·lins; ought·ness; ought; …   English syllables

  • Ought — ([add]t), n. & adv. See {Aught}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ought|n't — «AWT uhnt», ought not …   Useful english dictionary


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