Monday, July 30, 2012

Ye old should

Old English has a delightful cadence and ring to it does it not? Unfortunately one of the words that has walked off from it's original meaning is the word should. Nowadays should speaks more nearly to the expectant moral nature of a thing, "Well Dave should be here by now." It means, something ought to be.
I'd be willing to bet the meaning back then was more nearly along on the lines of our modern would, an expression of the certainty of the consequences of a thing. "Dave would be here by now if he knew they were giving away free doughnuts."
It's curious then that the ESV retained a should in John 3:16 when it seems to more nearly mean, would.
Yes it ought to happen, but even better to say it will happen.

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