Using deber to say should

To say should or ought to in Spanish, you use:

Auxiliary verb deber conjugated in El Condicional Simple + second verb in the infinitive.


Read and listen to these examples of deber conjugated in El Condicional Simple:

Yo debería probar tus cócteles.
I should try your cocktails.

deberías hacer un buen pastel de chocolate.
You should make a good chocolate cake.

El pastor debería cuidar a las ovejas.
The shepherd should look after the sheep.

Nosotros deberíamos contratar a más trabajadores.
We should hire more employees.

Vosotras deberíais coger el toro por los cuernos.
You should take the bull by the horns.

Las bailarinas deberían repetir la coreografía.
The dancers should rehearse the choreography.



Examples and resources

Yo debería probar tus cócteles.
I should try your cocktails.


El pastor debería cuidar a las ovejas.
The shepherd should look after the sheep.


Vosotras deberíais coger el toro por los cuernos.
You should take the bull by the horns.


Las bailarinas deberían repetir la coreografía.
The dancers should rehearse the choreography.


Nosotros deberíamos contratar a más trabajadores.
We should hire more employees.


deberías hacer un buen pastel de chocolate.
You should make a good chocolate cake.


Q&A Forum 2 questions, 4 answers

Do we not use deber in the present tense?

So, is it incorrect to say - Debo comer- Is the use of deber covered in other lessons?

Thanks

Asked 11 months ago

Okay - think I found the answer. Deber in present tense is more of "must" than should- correct?

Thanks

InmaKwiziq language super star

Hi Meghan

Yes, you are right. "Debo comer" means "I must eat" and "Debería comer" means "I should eat".

Inma :))

Do we not use deber in the present tense?

So, is it incorrect to say - Debo comer- Is the use of deber covered in other lessons?

Thanks

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Why Conditional?

Usually the conditional tense adds "would" to the verb. E.g. comería, would eat; habría, would have; vendría, would come, etc. But "should" is not the same as "would". It implies a duty or obligation, whereas "would" does not.

So debería etc. seems to be an exception because it means "should" not "would"!

Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hi Alan

I see what you mean, but regardless of the use or meaning, in Spanish we conjugate Deber in the conditional, to express a suggestion actually, more than obligation. As it is a modal verb, it works different to other verbs. The "would" meaning wouldn't work with "deber" the same way in English you wouldn't say "You would must" or anything like that. 

Inma

Thanks for tackling this question! Alan.

Why Conditional?

Usually the conditional tense adds "would" to the verb. E.g. comería, would eat; habría, would have; vendría, would come, etc. But "should" is not the same as "would". It implies a duty or obligation, whereas "would" does not.

So debería etc. seems to be an exception because it means "should" not "would"!

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