-When you going back to kindergarten, Otis?" some one had asked.

-"Me? Day Bernice gets her hair bobbed."

-"Then your education's over," said Marjorie quickly. "That's only a bluff of hers. I should think you'd have realized."

Source: Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I don't understand why the girl used "should think you'd have done" in the example. I understand that 'You would have realized' belongs to the third conditional. But why was it used with "should think".

  • 1
    Emphasis on the part of Marjorie. She is surprised Otis did not realise Bernice was bluffing. Or according this this to make it less blunt, but I am not sure I agree. Depends of tone of voice
    – mplungjan
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 12:27
  • Probably worth mentioning that this whole passage is written in non-standard English. Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


I should think you'd have realized is not a conditional sentence. Should has a tentative meaning here, that is, the speaker uses it to express a degree of uncertainty that would have been absent in I think you realized.

  • Thank you, Barrie, for your answer. But why was "would have" used? Why wasn't "I should think you realized" enough?
    – Teddy
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 13:16
  • It’s because it continues the hypothetical meaning. In saying I should think, the speaker speculates about what the other person might have done. Although, as I said, this isn’t a conditional sentence, there is an implied condition in its second part. What is going through the speaker’s mind is something like I should think you'd have realized (if you weren't so stupid). Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 13:43
  • Does this question exemplify the putative 'should'? See english.stackexchange.com/q/224111/50720
    – user50720
    Commented Jan 27, 2015 at 22:10

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