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dupond January 19, 2018 04:51 AM

Deberíamos de
Hi everyone

Can "deberíamos de" and "deberíamos" be used interchangeably?

I don't know that the "de" does in the following sentence and would have written it without the "de".

Quizás deberíamos de haber hecho eso.

There are more examples of "deberíamos de" being used at

In all of the examples, I would have just used "deberíamos".


Rusty January 19, 2018 05:51 AM

The two expressions mean different things (so are not interchangeable).
The verb without the preposition means an obligation or a requirement to do something.
The verb with the preposition expresses supposition or probability that something must be so.

Native speakers will sometimes omit the preposition when they assume or believe that something must be true.
One thing is certain - never use the preposition when 'obligation' is the meaning.

RobertoMadrid January 19, 2018 09:15 AM

Hi, Dupond.

Rusty's answer is precise.

Just wanted to outline, as Rusty said, that you will find it incorrectly used by a lot of native Spanish speakers. Both written and spoken. Either including "de" to indicate obligation or omitting "de" to express probability or supposition.

So, stay firm, and use it correctly :showoff: , no matter who you hear using it the other way around. It is not uncommon to hear well educated native speakers making this mistake.

Un abrazo,

JPablo January 19, 2018 04:35 PM


I made this mistake many times, and probably I will make it again.

I try to avoid any ambiguity using "tienes que" instead of "debes".

"Tienes que aprender esto"
"Debes aprender esto"

To me, using "tienes que" is even more forceful than "debes"...

In this example, I would not use "Debes de aprender esto", but "deberías aprender esto".

"Tendríamos que aprender esta lección" would be like "Deberíamos aprender esta lección", but slightly more emphatic the first.

"Deberíamos de aprender esta lección", expresses just the desire.

And of course, an indicative mode would be way more emphatic:
"Tenemos que aprender esta lección"
"Debemos aprender esta lección"

"Debemos de ser miles, decenas de miles, los que nos equivocamos con esto en español... ;-)

Saludos cordiales.

dupond January 19, 2018 04:56 PM

Thanks, I get the difference now.

Would the following sentences mean essentially the same thing?

Tu padre debe de estar orgulloso.

Tu padre debería de estar orgulloso.

If "deber de" is used to indicate supposition, what difference does it make to conjugate "deber" as "debería"?

JPablo January 19, 2018 05:03 PM

Essentially are very close in meaning.

For a native (prone to the mistake above) "debe de" implies a stronger supposition, or even a "must" for your dad, to be proud. But strictly speaking is that he probably is proud.

The one with "debería de", it is a supposition but also can have the idea that "if your dad is not proud", he "should be proud", it would be something expected, whether it is the case or not.

dupond January 19, 2018 07:25 PM


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