English Grammar

Should be verb+ing & should?


Please, what is the different meaning of the following two sentences?

1. Horatio should not be drinking so much whiskey before work.
2. Horatio should not drink so much whiskey before work.

It would be great if anybody could describe me where I can use 'should' or 'should be verb+ing'.



  • As far as I know, we use the continuous form (be drinking) when we're irritated or frustated about something that happens on a regular basis.

    When we say "Horatio is drinking so much whiskey before work" we express our anger, our irritation about it.

    But, conversely, when we say "Horatio drinks so much whiskey before work" we merely state a fact, without any emotional involvement. We don't judge it.

    Having thougt about this, I think with the first piece of advice ("Horatio should not be drinking so much..."), we express our anger while giving the advice.

    Whereas in the second sentence, we simply give advice without feeling angry or irritated about Horatio's drinking wiskey before work.
  • Good question, blueeyes! I don't think there's a difference in meaning, really.

    However, as Head Gasket implies, there is perhaps a small difference in implication. The first sentence may perhaps sound a little more judgmental than the second.

    In real life, of course, the implication would depend on the tone of voice with which you spoke the sentences!

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