Criticizing people for doing or not doing things

To criticize people for not doing things use the structure you could have + past participle.

  • You could have told me you weren’t coming.
  • You could have behaved more decently.
  • You could have paid for those drinks.
  • You could have repaired the laptop.
  • You could have knocked before entering my room.
  • You could have told me you were quitting.

The structure You should have + past participle can also be used to criticize people for not doing things.

  • You should have made another attempt.
  • You should have waited a little longer.
  • You should have accepted that invitation.
  • You should have asked for help.

Use You should not have… to criticize people for doing unwanted things.

  • You shouldn’t have called him a fool.
  • You shouldn’t have wasted that opportunity.
  • You shouldn’t have waited for his approval.
  • You shouldn’t have resigned.
  • You shouldn’t have ignored the symptoms.
  • You shouldn’t have invited him.

The structure Needn’t have… is also used to talk about unwanted things that happened.

  • You needn’t have woken me up. I don’t have to go to work today.
  • You needn’t have called the police.
  • You needn’t have cooked so much food. Nobody was hungry.
  • You needn’t have watered the plants. Just after you finished it started raining.