There a sentence: 'I was surprised that he should say such a thing.'

I don't quite understand it's meaning. I have 2 possible explanations, could you tell me which one is right:

1)I was surprised that he HAD SAID say such a thing.

2)I was surprised that he COULD say such a thing.

  • By could, do you mean "was able to" or "had decided to"? Because "I was surprised that he should speak French" definitely does not mean "I was surprised that he could speak French". – Peter Shor May 16 '15 at 11:01
  • By 'could' I mean 'had decided'. – kacherese May 16 '15 at 11:04

Good question!

In this context, should = would (makes a statement less blunt or direct)

'Should' is often used in contexts such as the one above, in which the speaker is "surprised" (actually means "shocked", in an implicit manner).

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