Ought

From Teflpedia

Ought (/ɔ:t/) is an English semi-modal verb.[1]

In standard English it is generally treated as a full modal verb, lacking an infinitive, present participle and past participle, with the exception that it catenates with a to-infinitive rather than a bare infinitive:[2] The question tag form is without to; e.g. "ought you?" or "oughtn't you?".

It basically means should. Ought to is a little more formal than should - but using it instead of should adds a word (see word count). For past time, it can take the perfect.

However in non-standard English the "to" can be dropped.

Type Simple Perfect
Positive You ought to do something You ought to have done something
Negative
  • You ought not to do something
  • You oughtn't to do something
  • You ought not to have done something
  • You oughtn't to have done something
  • You ought to have not done something
Question Ought you to do something? Ought you to have done something?

References[edit]