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  1. #1
    blizzy is offline Member
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    to settle one's affairs

    Are these sentences identical, when it comes to their meaning?
    He ought to settle his affairs.
    He shall settle his affairs.
    He should settle his affairs.
    He has to settle his affairs.
    He must settle his affairs.

  2. #2
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: to settle one's affairs

    Sentence 2 means the affair-settling will definitely happen. It is not natural in American English - we use "will".

    The other sentences are all natural and mean approximately the same thing.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 02-Sep-2017 at 20:22. Reason: Add an adjective.
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  3. #3
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    Roman55 is offline Key Member
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    Re: to settle one's affairs

    I agree that the second one is different from the rest, but to say the others mean the same thing is going a bit far.

    The differences are perhaps too subtle to try and explain concisely, but there are nuances of meaning in there that make language interesting.

    There is also an actual difference between shall and will.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 03-Sep-2017 at 00:59. Reason: Removed unnecessary line breaks and fixed typo
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  4. #4
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: to settle one's affairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman55 View Post
    There is also an actual difference between shall and will.
    Not in American English or, I suspect, in the speech of more than a tiny minority of British English speakers.
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  5. #5
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: to settle one's affairs

    Quote Originally Posted by blizzy View Post
    Are these sentences identical, when it comes to their meaning?
    No.
    "Has to" and "must" are used for obligation.
    "Should" is used for advice/suggestion.
    "Will" and "shall" are used to indicate a future action.

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: to settle one's affairs

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Not in American English or, I suspect, in the speech of more than a tiny minority of British English speakers.
    I'd say a large majority of BE speakers know the difference between 'Shall we dance?' and 'Will we dance?'

  7. #7
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: to settle one's affairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    I'd say a large majority of BE speakers know the difference between 'Shall we dance?' and 'Will we dance?'
    Now that you mention it, that may be the one case where Americans would also understand the distinction.
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  8. #8
    probus's Avatar
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    Re: to settle one's affairs

    Regardless of the regional shall/will differences, the fundamental fact is this: the person who tells you to settle your affairs is an expert, a doctor who is telling you that you have not long to live.

    What it means is you need to think and act rapidly about who is going to inherit your property. In that circumstance, who cares about shall vs will?

  9. #9
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    Re: to settle one's affairs

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    What it means is you need to think and act rapidly about who is going to inherit your property. In that circumstance, who cares about shall vs will?
    On the contrary, at that point what you shall will, will be willy important.
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