Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Alternatives for Could/Should

Alternatives is a recurring post in which I give synonyms for an over used word. Click on the tab above for a "complete" list of over used words.

Today's words are:

Could is considered the past tense of can. Not too many synonyms are available. From what I've been able to garner, there really isn't anything better to use. Just be aware and be judicious. Too many “could haves” can get old. Just like too many “as ifs.”

as it may be

can be, conceivable, conceivably, credible


imaginably, it could be

managed to, might be


perchance, perhaps

succeeded in

was able to, weather permitting

Should is another word that doesn't have many synonyms. It “should” also be used judiciously.

be expedient, be forced, be in for, be necessary, be obliged

cannot do otherwise, cannot be helped

had best, had better, have got to, have to

might, must

need (to), needs must

ought (to)


used to



Anansi is still hanging around! Today he and I are visiting Lynn Kelley's website.

Stop on by, I'm sure Lynn has plenty of room for all of us.

Are you a coulda/shoulda kind of person? Or are you one of those "let's git her done" people?


  1. Some decent alternatives, but otherwise words to avoid.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions. These are hard ones to replace and like Alex said, avoiding them may be best.

  3. I’m enjoying your ‘word’ posts I always struggle with homophones - rain, reign and rein get me every time!

  4. Interesting question. I'm not *Type A* "Let's get 'er done," but that's closer than "coulda, woulda, shoulda."

  5. Not a lot of replacements. That should tell us something.

  6. I've wondered about about alternatives for these since I overuse them.

  7. I definitely overuse these two! Not much of a "git" her done person, I guess :)

  8. I'm sure I use those words too much. Probably do so without thinking about it since they're such a natural part of speech.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  9. Hi Bish .. it's variety with words is the spice of life isn't it. I'm sure we all have phases when we overuse words ... I know I do!

    Great thoughts though .. and good luck with Anansi ..

    Cheers Hilary

  10. Life is a crock of shoulds and coulds! Gotta use 'em once in a while, hate to use 'em too much. Nice options you've presented, Bish.

    Linguists call these devils modal auxiliaries. That should be enough to scare anyone away from using them if they could use something else. :-)


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!