Student or Learner
--Tom is still absent from class.
--If he goes on like this, he ______ (shall/will) be punished.
The given answer is 'shall', but I think 'will' is better as 'shall' (used to express a warning) sounds old-fashioned. Am I right?
Thank you in advance.
Last edited by joham; 17-Nov-2010 at 04:27. Reason: a few words added.
***** NOT A TEACHER / ONLY MY OPINION
I agree with the "old-fashioned" people who feel that it would
be better to use "shall" in your sentence. As you said, "shall"
gives a nuance of a warning while "will" better represents the
plain future for the third person.
Quirk et al (1985) write: Shall is in very restricted use with 2nd and 3rd person subjects as a way of expressing the speaker's volition, either in granting a favour or in giving orders. [...] Shall is archaic and authoritarian' in tone.
A further restricted use of shall with a 3rd person subject occurs in legal or quai-legal discourse, in stipulating regulations or legal requirements. Here shall is close in meaning to must.
(my emphasis added)
Other writers agree that such use is rare.
I suspect that you feel the nuance because you were taught 'correct' English some years ago - and you remember what you were taught.
I was taught 'correct' French and German in the 1950s and early 1960s, and was somewhat disheartened on first visiting France and Germany to discover that my language was appropriate for a septuagenarian professor, but not for a teeenager.
I am sure that my English masters at school would hve been very happy with, "If he goes on like this, he shall be punished". I probably was myself, once upon a time. However, I feel that 'will' is the correct and natural answer to the original question for the English of today.
It might be the influence of some earlier stages of my education, I agree. Anyway, I associate "shall" with the old schoolmaster indeed, best holding a rod.