International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies
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Expressing requirements
and recommendations (provisions)

(The full requirements are described in the ISO/IEC Directives Part 2:2011, Tables H1 and H2.)


The word shall is used to express requirements whereas the word should is used to express recommendations (suggestions or preferences).


Only express requirements in normative text.


The foreword, introduction, scope, and notes cannot contain requirements.


For the expression of provisions, use the following verbal forms:

  • requirements are expressed by “… shall…”;
  • recommendations are expressed by “…should…”;
  • permitted or allowed items are expressed by “…may…”;
  • possibility or capability to carry out an action is expressed by “ … can …”.