You can start a sentence with the word “should” in formal and informal writing. However, you can only use “should” at the beginning of a sentence when it means “if.” E.g., “Should you have problems finding it, let me know.”
The word “should” essentially has two functions.
The first function of “should” is to give advice. You cannot start a sentence with “should” when you use it to advise somebody because the pronoun must come first.
As shown in this example:
- He should put in more effort if he wants to pass.
However, when the word “should” means the same as “if,” you can use it to start a sentence.
As shown in these examples:
- Should there be any problem when you arrive, just knock on the door, and someone will open it for you.
- Should he do that again, I will not hesitate to give him a report.
We have covered the basics of how to use “should” at the start of a sentence. Keep reading the rest of the article to learn more about beginning sentences with “should” in formal and informal writing.
Can You Start a Sentence With “Should” in Formal Writing?
It is acceptable to start formal sentences with the word “should” when the meaning is the same as “if.”
- Should the experiment not yield the desired results, we plan to implement a more accurate second test.
- Should the Government not offer assistance with paying energy bills, many people will not be able to afford to heat their homes.
However, when you use “should” to give advice, you cannot start a sentence with it because the pronoun and “should” are in the wrong order.
- She should ask me if she needs help.
If we put “should” at the start, the meaning changes to “if”:
- Should she need help, she just needs to ask, and I will gladly help her.
Using the word “should” at the start of a sentence is quite formal so there is no necessity to use synonyms.
However, should you wish to use a synonym, the only other word that means the same at the start of a sentence is “if.”
Can You Start a Sentence With “Should” in Informal Writing?
You can start a sentence with the word “should” in informal writing as long as you use it to me “if.”
Furthermore, many people view starting a sentence with “should” as quite formal. Therefore, people are far more likely to use the word “if” rather than “should.”
Here are some examples of “should” starting informal sentences and the alternative version with “if”:
- Should you need anything else, please do not hesitate to ask.
- If you need anything else, please do not hesitate to ask.
- Should you see Peter on your travels, tell him I say hi.
- If you see Peter on your travels, tell him I say hi.