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I understand that all three of them are the Spanish equivalent of “ought to” or “must” or “should". But I really need to know if there are any subtle differences in the sense they convey. Also, are there any regional preferences?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

First, those equivalences are not right, it should be:

  • Should is the equivalent of debería.

  • Must is equivalent of deber.

  • Have to is equivalent of tener que/haber que

  • Ought to is equivalent of tendría que

Those are the proper equivalences. I would not point any difference since I think they are quite similar in use. But I find that ought to is tricky when translating. Anyway, in general those are used in the same way.

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