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    #1

    why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    When we started learning English at school. We were told that we should always use "shall' with "I" and "we" pronouns. Since we followed British English norms and British spellings back at school.

    But now I hardly see anyone using "shall" with "I" and "we" not only Americans but also British.

    I have heard "shall" only on occasions when people offer other people something, or when they suggest others to do something.

    Like a boyfriend might ask his girlfriend to dance.
    Let's dance, shall we?

    Shall is no longer used in this way.

    I shall go to New York next week.
    We shall go on a picnic to Florida.


    Regards
    Aamir the Global Citizen
    Last edited by Aamir Tariq; 05-Apr-2016 at 05:22.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aamir Tariq View Post

    Like a boyfriend might ask her his girlfriend to dance.
    That's the second time in a couple of hours I've had to correct the same error. Did you not spot my correction the last time? The possessive pronoun for a male subject is "his". It's "her" for a female subject.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    Because language constantly changes. "Whom" is another word that is not used much, or at all, by most native speakers. Like "shall" its use is fixed in certain phrases, but not used commonly in other places where it used to be.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    The 'shall/will' difference was never important except to a minority of speakers of BrE. It just happened that that minority were in positions of power that made it possible for them to use it as a shibboleth (second definition here). It was taught as 'correct' for a long time in the UK and in our colonies. It was not until the 1960s/1970s that people began to wake up and reject the 'shall/will' difference and a few other shibboleths.

    A personal note: I observe the difference, but that's a result of years of it being drummed into me at a 'good' school. My parents didn't and, thank goodness, my offspring don't. For my offspring, it's as dead as 'whom', the subjunctive, the split-infinitive taboo, etc.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    Unlike Piscean, I was never taught this [artificial] difference. I simply use "shall" in the same way it was used by everyone around me when I was acquiring my own language.

    Shall we go out for dinner?
    Shall I make a cup of tea?

    Are you going to go out for dinner?
    Will they buy the tickets tomorrow?
    Are they going to buy the tickets tomorrow?

    I will book my ticket next week.
    He will not win the prize.
    We will wait until the film has been out a while before we see it.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    I remember a teacher once trying to make the distinction between "you will" and "you shall." I don't think any of us kids were buying it.

    You do find "shalls" in legal language to express an obligation. "The sheriff shall issue a permit" is stricter than "the sheriff may issue a permit." In the latter, the sheriff has discretion that he does not in the former.

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    #7

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    Perhaps the most stable use of "shall" nowadays is in tag questions, when we start the sentence with "Let's": Let's go to the cinema tonight, shall we?

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    #8

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    That's the second time in a couple of hours I've had to correct the same error. Did you not spot my correction the last time? The possessive pronoun for a male subject is "his". It's "her" for a female subject.
    I know all those rules. In fact, I don't get enough sleep because I have to work online for hours and hours and most of the time when I am posting my questions I am feeling so drowsy that I make those errors unknowingly. Thanks for pointing them out anyway.

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    #9

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    There is one more thing we were taught at school about this "shall" and "will" thing.

    Not only we were taught to use "shall" with "I" and "you" and "will" with "you", "he", "she", "it", "they" "third person singular and plural nouns" when we talk about future but also to reverse the rule if you want to stress something and you want to say that something will certainly happen or be done. like

    when you say

    I shall go to London tomorrow. (it means, I'll simply go to London tomorrow)
    I will go to London tomorrow. (it means, I will most certainly go to London, no matter whatever happens but I will go to London)

    They will sign the documents
    . (they will simply sign the documents)
    They shall sign the documents. (they will most certainly sign the documents, this is sure to happen)

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: why is "shall" no longer used with "I", "we" pronouns?

    I make no such distinction between the levels of certainty. For me, they mean exactly the same thing. Bear in mind that I would say neither. If my plan is to go to London tomorrow, then I would say "I'm going to London tomorrow". Note that I wouldn't even say "I'm going to go to London tomorrow". We use the future "tense" (will/shall/going to) much less frequently than textbooks suggest.

    This dialogue is natural:

    What are you doing tomorrow?
    I'm going to London. You?
    I'm taking my nephew to the cinema.

    This dialogue is unnatural:

    What will you do tomorrow?
    I shall go to London. What will you do?
    I shall take my nephew to the cinema.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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