'She walked through the forest, and who should she see, but the Big Bad Wolf!'


In this case, should is a way of heightening the drama of the event:

should 8 used to emphasize to a listener how striking an event is or was : you should have seen Marge's face. [NOAD]

Do and did can be used in the same way:

I came home early and what did I see? My wife in bed with another man!

Should in your sentence and did in mine are used as a mild form of erotema, a rhetorical device that asks a question to dramatize a certain event. It is, in fact, the most common device, otherwise known as a "rhetorical question".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.