Need vs Should

Need vs Should. Yes, it’s a bit confusing, but we can sort it out!

Should expresses advise: a suggestion, a recommendation.  It is weaker than must.

Examples:

  • We should select cars that are more fuel efficient.
  • We should use reusable bags when shopping

Must express a stronger point of view or opinion. It expresses necessity. It is used when you are compelled to do something.

Examples:

  • We must redesign engines to be more fuel efficient.
  • The grocery stores must provide reusable bags when shopping.

In short, both should and must are similar in meaning except that must is a much stronger word (in terms of necessity) as compared to should.

The sun is so bright today. I should put on my sunglasses.

The sun is so bright today. I need to put on my sunglasses.

What is the difference between the two statements? Both statements are correct, but the meaning is completely different.

  • When using should you express that it is advisable to wear glasses to protect your eyes.
  • When using the word need you are saying that the sun is too intense for you to bear it. So there is a requirement for you to wear sunglasses.