You are feeling ill. I would stay at home if I were you.

Can I replace would with should? Like this:

You are feeling ill. I should stay at home if I were you.

It seems illogical to me; however I am not sure. I couldn't find an answer that answers my question elsewhere.

3 Answers 3


Usage note from Oxford Dictinoaries

As with shall and will, there is confusion about when to use should and would. The traditional rule is that should is used with first person pronouns (I and we), as in I said I should be late, and would is used with second and third persons (you, he, she, it, they), as in you didn't say you would be late. In practice, would is normally used instead of should in reported speech and conditional clauses: I said I would be late; if we had known we would have invited her.

My preference agrees with theirs: in practice I say "would" and "will" even in the first person, ignoring the "traditional rule". Saying "should" makes this seem old-fashioned to me.

  • 1
    So the sentence is correct with "should", but no one uses it anymore?
    – Pero
    Dec 13, 2018 at 15:03

No, I don't think using "should" would make much sense here, so I think you ought to stick with "would". Perhaps I can make this clearer by rearranging the sentence a little (just for the purpose of making the meaning clearer, I'm not suggesting you rearrange it in general use):

You are feeling ill. If I were you, I would stay at home.

In other words, you are saying that if you were in the ill person's place, you would choose to stay at home. The alternative would be

You are feeling ill. If I were you, I should stay at home.

Here the "I should" construction is confusing and doesn't really hold much meaning, as the "if" clause is already making the sentence conditional. "I would" gives a definitive statement of what you would do if you were in that person's situation.


Generally, should and would are very similar and can be switched around. However, I think the second sentence is a bit off. The word should has generally the same meaning as would, but should implies command and obligation.

You should do the laundry.


He should not mess up.

All of these usages of should implies obligation. The second line you mentioned:

You are feeling ill. I should stay at home if I were you.

The subject of should is I. It does not realy make sense to imply obligation to yourself in this context, especially with the subordinate clause at the back.

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