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Thread: will / shall

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default will / shall

    Does 'will' and 'shall' have the same effect? Can they be used interchangeably?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: will / shall

    Quote Originally Posted by dayash
    Does 'will' and 'shall' have the same effect? Can they be used interchangeably?
    I have asked the same question. There is so much grammar about shall and will. The best answer I found was shall should only be used in the question form, by the first person singular and first person plural, and all other occasions use will.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: will / shall

    Quote Originally Posted by dayash
    Does 'will' and 'shall' have the same effect? Can they be used interchangeably?
    American speakers don't use 'shall'. In modern British English, it is mostly used in questions asking for advice (what shall I do?) and suggestions (shall we go). The old use of 'shall' for I and we is correct, but going out of fashion. It does survive in formal written English, but is rarely used.

    It is also used sometimes in the second person to show anger:
    Child- I won't do it.
    Parent- Oh yes, you shall.

    I think that the questions, formal letters and ifshouting at someone are the only times I'd use it nowadays,and I'm trying not to shout, so that's a use to lose.

  4. #4
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    Default

    It is probably overstating it to say that Americans don't use shall. (Proper Bostonians probably say shall.) Nevertheless, Tdol is substantially correct. For example, instead of "What shall I do?" an American would probably say "What should I do?" Similarly, in Tdol's example of an interaction between parent and child the American parent would probably say "Oh yes, you will" instead of "Oh yes, you shall".

    ("Shall" does survive in such expressions such as "Shall we dance?")

    :)

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