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    • Join Date: Aug 2006
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    #1

    We/I will/shall

    I learn from my school that We and I must be used with shall...

    But why I usually hear we will ... (ex. We will rock you.) I will more often than I shall we shall...

    In which situation that I should use will and shall?

    Thank you

  1. matilda
    Guest
    #2

    Talking Re: We/I will/shall

    we will do s.th means that we do s.th in the future. but we shall means that it is better for us if we do that thing.

  2. Lenka's Avatar

    • Join Date: May 2004
    • Posts: 863
    #3

    Re: We/I will/shall

    Quote Originally Posted by bkk_kid View Post
    I learn from my school that We and I must be used with shall...
    Thank you
    It doesn't have to be used only with shall. "Shall" can be used only with "I" and "we"...


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 671
    #4

    Re: We/I will/shall

    Quote Originally Posted by bkk_kid View Post
    I learn from my school that We and I must be used with shall...

    But why I usually hear we will ... (ex. We will rock you.) I will more often than I shall we shall...

    In which situation that I should use will and shall?

    Thank you
    In traditional English grammar, the future tense auxiliary should be 'shall' in the first person (I/We), and 'will' in the second and third persons.

    I was taught this rule at a grammar school in England 30 years ago, but even then it was seldom observed by most native speakers. I wouldn't be surprised to find that it is not even taught to British or American schoolchildren today.

    If you wish to be strictly correct, you should follow the above rule. But be aware that most native speakers and writers don't follow it. As you point out, the group Queen didn't...

  3. DavyBCN's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • Wales
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      • Rwanda

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 346
    #5

    Re: We/I will/shall

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    In traditional English grammar, the future tense auxiliary should be 'shall' in the first person (I/We), and 'will' in the second and third persons.
    I was taught this rule at a grammar school in England 30 years ago, but even then it was seldom observed by most native speakers. I wouldn't be surprised to find that it is not even taught to British or American schoolchildren today.
    If you wish to be strictly correct, you should follow the above rule. But be aware that most native speakers and writers don't follow it. As you point out, the group Queen didn't...

    I have a very, very vague memory of having been taught the same thing in my Welsh grammar school some 45 years ago. The big problem for learners of English is that different uses of will and shall, especially in making offers (Shall I close the door not Will I close the door), requests (Will you close the door not Shall you close the door) and in making statements or question more "polite".

  4. Philly's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 620
    #6

    Re: We/I will/shall

    .
    Back in my school days, I was never taught to use shall to talk about the future at all. That's going back 35 years or so. To my mind, that usage has been dead in the US for quite a long time. Shall survives in AmE only in certain types of sentences --- for example, as DavyBCN mentioned, an offer (Shall I help you with that?) or a suggestion (Shall we dance?)
    .


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 671
    #7

    Re: We/I will/shall

    Quote Originally Posted by Philly View Post
    .
    Back in my school days, I was never taught to use shall to talk about the future at all. That's going back 35 years or so. To my mind, that usage has been dead in the US for quite a long time. Shall survives in AmE only in certain types of sentences --- for example, as DavyBCN mentioned, an offer (Shall I help you with that?) or a suggestion (Shall we dance?)
    .
    The usage is more or less dead in British English too, but it is apparently still being taught in EFL classes, going by what the original poster wrote.

    It deserves to die anyway, as it seems to serve no useful purpose to me, and I don't believe there is a good historical grammatical argument for the distinction either.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #8

    Re: We/I will/shall

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    In traditional English grammar, the future tense auxiliary should be 'shall' in the first person (I/We), and 'will' in the second and third persons.
    I was taught this rule at a grammar school in England 30 years ago, but even then it was seldom observed by most native speakers. I wouldn't be surprised to find that it is not even taught to British or American schoolchildren today.
    If you wish to be strictly correct, you should follow the above rule. But be aware that most native speakers and writers don't follow it. As you point out, the group Queen didn't...
    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    It deserves to die anyway, as it seems to serve no useful purpose to me, and I don't believe there is a good historical grammatical argument for the distinction either.
    Dear Coffa,

    These two quotes, I believe, illustrate the major confusion that exists even in native speakers minds over what grammar and language really are. Doesn't it seem odd to you to suggest that someone would be "strictly correct" and "should follow the ... rule" and then tell us that "there is [no] good historical grammatical argument for the distinction either"?

    You're right of course. There is no good historical reason for this. It was just another poor prescriptive analysis of English.

    Results 1 - 10 of about 22,600,000 English pages for "you shall".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 14,000,000 English pages for "he shall".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 5,250,000 English pages for "she shall".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 20,400,000 English pages for "they shall".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 40,600,000 English pages for "it shall".

    ++++++++++++++

    How should ESLs handle 'shall'? It should be treated as part of their passive [listening] language use. They can understand the meaning but they don't attempt to use 'shall' until they're really comfortable with English.

    They can easily do this without causing any harm in their active language use [speaking] because even for ENLs, 'shall' is seldom used compared to other modal verbs. There is a viable alternative for every 'shall' usage.

    They can, of course, make use of frozen formulas, like, "Shall we dance"; "Shall we go to a movie" but even here, they have to realize that it's not the most natural choice for most language situations.


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 671
    #9

    Re: We/I will/shall

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Dear Coffa,
    These two quotes, I believe, illustrate the major confusion that exists even in native speakers minds over what grammar and language really are. Doesn't it seem odd to you to suggest that someone would be "strictly correct" and "should follow the ... rule" and then tell us that "there is [no] good historical grammatical argument for the distinction either"?
    You're right of course. There is no good historical reason for this. It was just another poor prescriptive analysis of English.
    Well, you seem to wish to paint me as a prescriptive grammarian, and that is not actually the case.

    I don't have a 'confusion' over what grammar or language are, major or otherwise. Grammar is a set of rules, which guide users of a language as to what is, and has been, common practice amongst users of that language. As such, it is necessary to avoid anarchy. That is not the same as saying that it is an authoritarian dictator forbidding change. Grammar should be the handmaiden of usage, not its jailer.

    The two quotes of mine do not seem 'odd' or incompatible to me at all, and you are attributing motives to what I wrote that were not there. I was responding to a poster who had been taught a rule that he/she correctly observed was not followed in practice by native speakers. I simply pointed out that the rule does exist, and described it. I did not defend the rule - quite the opposite in fact. But many EFL learners are obliged to follow strict grammatical rules during their learning process, and so they need to know what they are, and why they are.

    It is necessary to know, and be familiar with, strict interpretations of grammar in order to make an informed decision as to whether such strictness is justified. I do not religiously say 'I shall...' myself, so I am hardly likely to want to dictate that others do so.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #10

    Re: We/I will/shall

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    Well, you seem to wish to paint me as a prescriptive grammarian, and that is not actually the case.
    I don't have a 'confusion' over what grammar or language are, major or otherwise. Grammar is a set of rules, which guide users of a language as to what is, and has been, common practice amongst users of that language. As such, it is necessary to avoid anarchy. That is not the same as saying that it is an authoritarian dictator forbidding change. Grammar should be the handmaiden of usage, not its jailer.

    Please don't take this personally, Coffa. I state my case frankly and honestly. You got caught in what you stated and I merely pointed it out. Even in the new material, above, you have a major contradiction.

    "... and has been, common practice amongst users of that language". That's precisely the point. These prescriptive rules never described common usage. They were made up rules that relied on specious reasoning for that odd occurrence when there was any reasoning.


    +++++++++++++++++

    Grammar Puss - Steven Pinker

    ... For here are the remarkable facts. Most of the prescriptive rules of the language mavens make no sense on any level. They are bits of folklore that originated for screwball reasons several hundred years ago and have perpetuated themselves ever since. For as long as they have existed, speakers have flouted them, spawning identical plaints about the imminent decline of the language century after century.

    All the best writers in English have been among the flagrant flouters. The rules conform neither to logic nor tradition, and if they were ever followed they would force writers into fuzzy, clumsy, wordy, ambiguous, incomprehensible prose, in which certain thoughts are not expressible at all. Indeed, most of the "ignorant errors" these rules are supposed to correct display an elegant logic and an acute sensitivity to the grammatical texture of the language, to which the mavens are oblivious.

    http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articl...wrepublic.html
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    The two quotes of mine do not seem 'odd' or incompatible to me at all, and you are attributing motives to what I wrote that were not there. I was responding to a poster who had been taught a rule that he/she correctly observed was not followed in practice by native speakers. I simply pointed out that the rule does exist, and described it.

    A rule that does not describe the actuality, the fact situation, can hardly be called a rule.

    I did not defend the rule - quite the opposite in fact. But many EFL learners are obliged to follow strict grammatical rules during their learning process, and so they need to know what they are, and why they are.
    It is necessary to know, and be familiar with, strict interpretations of grammar in order to make an informed decision as to whether such strictness is justified. I do not religiously say 'I shall...' myself, so I am hardly likely to want to dictate that others do so.

    Truly, that's what's so puzzling, Coffa. Why even offer a rule that doesn't exist? You might as well inform students that the earth is flat or that the moon is made of green cheese.

    What you tell students to do is ask their teachers to defend what they say, to offer proof for their rules. What else does science do but that?

    I understand that it is difficult to let go of what you've learned. School gives things a shine that they often don't deserve. Such is the case with these old prescriptions. They have misled ESLs for far too long. Strict grammar is simply a euphemism for prescriptive grammar.

    #
    Last edited by riverkid; 29-Aug-2006 at 16:04.

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