- (modal) If you ought to do something, doing it is better than not doing it.
- I think perhaps we ought to help her.
- It's dangerous and there ought not to be any children close by.
- We really ought to go a bit early because of the snow.
- What time ought the school to open?
- I suppose I ought to write her an e-mail.
- (modal) If something ought to be true, you have reason to believe it, but you don't know, or it is not true.
- Synonym: should
- Oughtn't he to be here by now.
- You ought to be able to finish that in an hour.
Ought is different from other modal verbs (e.g., may, will, could) in that it takes to + infinitive instead of a bare infinitive. For example:
- I will go.
- I ought to go.
There is, however, a trend to use ought with a bare infinitive in negatives and certain questions. For example:
- You oughtn't (to) worry about it.
- Ought we (to) ask her about it?