When I listen to old Tom Lehrer recordings he says,

  • I should like to introduce...

and it sounds a bit strange. However, yesterday I was building a shed with my wife and I said, much to my surprise,

  • I should think you would have to attach this first.

I'm aware of the slight difference in meaning from "I would think..." but had no idea that I myself would actually naturally use it. Is this an atavism or do other young people actually still use it, say in the US? (Young e.g. 30s and younger).

  • Duplicate of 'Nuances in variants of “I should/would/∅ think so”'. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 14:27
  • @Edwin my question is not about meaning, it's about usage. I don't see the link so I'm not sure if the question you linked is too. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 14:29
  • I don't see how 'the way in which a word or phrase is normally and correctly used' [ODO] can be divorced from what it is intended to convey. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 14:37
  • @Edwin I'm not sure if you read the last sentence. I know the meaning and correct usage, I don't need it explained. I want to know if it is still used in speech. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 14:38
  • You seem to think that 'usage' means 'how frequently it is used'. I'd look up 'usage'. // Have you checked tchrist's answer? Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 14:51

2 Answers 2


When conjugating the verb "to be" in the "proper" old-fashioned way, it was "I should" and "you, he, and she would."

The terms mean the same thing; the only difference is whether they're being used first person, or second or third person. "Should" for first person is now considered more formal, and alien to some ears, but for some of us it's just proper.

That's why Tom Lehrer and I say, "I should like to introduce . . ." rather than "I would like to introduce."

  • Do you have references? Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 23:22
  • @MattSamuel I suspect Oldilocks is referring to I shall / you will, but I'm not sure it works well in the past tense.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 10:04

Yes, absolutely there is a difference and a useful one.

I would like to introduce is a suggestion of a request, asking permission to perform this action.

I should think you have to attach this first is again polite, but a stronger way of making the request. It's recommended for giving advice.

  • 1
    Hello, ann2. If you look at the duplicate, you will see that tchrist gives a fuller (but by no means full) explanation of the usages of 'should' and 'would'. He includes supporting evidence, which is expected on ELU. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 14:33

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