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  1. #1
    Ever Student's Avatar
    Ever Student is offline Senior Member
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    Question What's the difference between "shall" and "should"?



    Hello,

    I do know that "Shall" is used for future and "Should" is the past form of that. However, looking up in my dictionary, I have been confused about the real differnce between "shall" and "should". Because they are used in the same way in given examples.

    Would you please help me?


  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between "shall" and "should"?

    Quote Originally Posted by taghavi View Post

    Hello,

    I do know that "Shall" is used for future and "Should" is the past form of that. However, looking up in my dictionary, I have been confused about the real differnce between "shall" and "should". Because they are used in the same way in given examples.

    Would you please help me?
    'Should' is etmologically the past tense of 'shall' but in practice does not function as an independent past tense: that is to say, a main clause predicated by 'should' has either present or future reference, but not past.

    The formal connection between 'shall' and 'should' is evident only in the context of reported speech, so that e.g. the statement

    "I shall be here at seven tomorrow."

    could (in BrE, at least) be reported as

    I told her that I should be there at seven the following day.

    (AmE speakers, however - and indeed many contemporary BrE speakers -would prefer 'would' here.)

    Within a main clause , 'should' functions both as a DEONTIC modal, with the meaning '(have) a duty to/(be) obliged to', as in

    You should always handle antiques with care.

    and as an EPISTEMIC modal, with the meaning 'can logically be expected to', as in

    His train has just arrived; so he should be here somewhere.

    I hope this contains at least some of the information that you require!

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between "shall" and "should"?

    Should is primarily a conditional form of shall; only at times is it used as a sort of retrospective (past) for shall.

  4. #4
    Ever Student's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the difference between "shall" and "should"?

    Many thanks for your help Philo and Kon.

  5. #5
    yiuho is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between "shall" and "should"?

    Quote Originally Posted by taghavi View Post

    Hello,

    I do know that "Shall" is used for future and "Should" is the past form of that. However, looking up in my dictionary, I have been confused about the real differnce between "shall" and "should". Because they are used in the same way in given examples.

    Would you please help me?

    From my understanding, "Shall" has same or similar meaning as "Will". In British English, most of the people would say "I shall go to school.", but in American English would say "I will go to school." Lesser people would use "Shall" now, because the past tense of "Shall" is "Shan't", "Shan't" is old style english, we just use "won't" (the past tense of "will") now. The meaning of "Should" is used to say what would have been right or sensible, but was not done.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What's the difference between "shall" and "should"?

    Shan't and won't are not past tenses of shall and will.

  7. #7
    yiuho is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: What's the difference between "shall" and "should"?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Shan't and won't are not past tenses of shall and will.
    haha! Sorry it's my fault....I just wanted to say the short form of "shall not" is "shan't" and "will not" is "won't".......so I understand "shall" is seldomly to be used except British English cos the modern english would use "will" to instead of "shall"....please correct me if I'm wrong.....Thanks.

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