‘She should be looking for a job’ (SHOULD BE + verb ING)

Let’s look at an example in student writing:

In Korea, it is so common that women should be looking for a job after divorce.

PELIC Korean female level 4 writing.

‘Should’ can express obligation or expectation.  ‘Should’ can be used with a continuous form:

Should be + lookING


In the English Grammar Profile at B2, there are 3 points covering ‘should + continuous form’.  Points 141 (general), 164 and 177 in Modality either are used for obligation or expectation.


A search for should be _v?g* in the iWeb corpus finds the following present participles:

1 SHOULD BE DOING 24974

Further collocates 4 left and right:

1 WHAT (DDQ ) 7756

Here's what you should be doing.

2 SOMETHING (PN1 ) 1554

 


3 THINGS (NN2 ) 1303
4 THING (NN1 ) 600

5 ELSE (RR ) 544


6 EVERYTHING (PN1 ) 476


7 ANYWAY (RR ) 455


8 DIFFERENTLY (RR ) 152
9 HOMEWORK (NN1 ) 82


10 THINKS (VVZ ) 62

 

 


Here’s a long list of the most common VERB-ING after ‘should be’:

 

2 SHOULD BE LOOKING 14641
3 SHOULD BE USING 12086
4 SHOULD BE GETTING 8297
5 SHOULD BE WORKING 6485
6 SHOULD BE TAKING 5622
7 SHOULD BE ASKING 5531
8 SHOULD BE THINKING 3931
9 SHOULD BE GOING 3911
10 SHOULD BE MAKING 3902
11 SHOULD BE EATING 3855
12 SHOULD BE PAYING 3595


13 SHOULD BE FOCUSING

  Daily Mail
Naomi Osaka ‘creeped out’ by critics of Instagram bikini shots
One Instagram user told the tennis star that she should be ‘focusing on the upcoming competitions’, suggesting that posting images of herself …

14 SHOULD BE RUNNING 2754
15 SHOULD BE COMING 2380
16 SHOULD BE TRYING 2377
17 SHOULD BE PLAYING 2339
18 SHOULD BE SEEING 1908
19 SHOULD BE AIMING 1905
20 SHOULD BE SPENDING 1860