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    #1

    Question the use of shall

    Hello,

    the question is the following:
    is "shall" still used in the second person (you) to express an order, a command (for instance with children): You shall stay at home.

    And in the first person (I,we) does it express more determination than will?

    Thanks A LOT
    CIP

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the use of shall

    Quote Originally Posted by cip View Post
    Hello,

    the question is the following:
    is "shall" still used in the second person (you) to express an order, a command (for instance with children): You shall stay at home.
    Rarely if ever. For me, it imparts a sense of fairytale, probably because of the traditional line in Cinderella: 'You shall go to the ball.' And in the third person there's a nursery rhyme - 'She shall have music wherever she goes.' So non-1st person 'shall' reminds me of childhood.
    And in the first person (I,we) does it express more determination than will?

    Thanks A LOT
    CIP
    In the first person, it depends. Whichever one people use by default (some use will some use shall), the other is more emphatic. A schoolteacher who usually says 'I shall' - because of the prescriptive rule in favour of that usage, once very popular - especially among schoolteachers) might for emphasis say "I will have silence!" But a child who hasn't learnt the 'rule' and normally says 'I will', might for emphasis say "I shall have more ice-cream!"

    (This applies only to BE I think.)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 22-Feb-2007 at 17:58.

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    #3

    Re: the use of shall

    It's often used to conradict someone- you hear angry parent saying 'Oh yes, you shall!'.

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    #4

    Re: the use of shall

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It's often used to conradict someone- you hear angry parent saying 'Oh yes, you shall!'.
    Perhaps that's another reason for my 'reminds me of childhood'.

    b

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    #5

    Smile Re: the use of shall

    Hello again,
    if I got you right:
    shall is barely used in the second etc. persons (apart from the "Oh, yes,you shall" by a parent)
    As for the rest, it depends on the use each person makes of it.
    For instance, since I'm the one who normally uses "will" (I was taught by an English mother-tongue teacher that "shall" was out-fo-date, the majority use will, that's what he maintained, at least) I will use "shall" for more emphasis. OK?
    thanks again
    cip

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    #6

    Re: the use of shall

    Not for I/we. If you want to add extra emphasis with the first person, use 'will' with extra stress.


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    #7

    Re: the use of shall

    Ooooh! One for me: the 'shall/will' thing is treated to the tune of thousands of words in Fowler's 'The King's English.' It's a matter of two creatures called 'the promissive' and 'the predictive.' Just to be as bizarre as possible, English speakers USED to actually bother to track the difference:

    I will become president! -- in the first person, 'will' is the promissive.

    The company shall pay. -- but in the third person, 'shall' is the promissive!!(and 'will' becomes the predictive. Don't ask me! I just speak the language!)

    The distinction is as dead now as that between 'may' and can.' HOWEVER, native-speakers still pick up on the fact that when you ask a question, the PROMISSIVE often doesn't always have the right 'feel.' For example, a native-speaker would probably say, 'Will you pay me the money you owe me?' but 'Shall we dance upon the sand in the moonlight?' with this historical distinction kicking around in the back of their minds somewhere.

    I heard my ten-year-old niece use 'shall' in a sentence a while ago, and my jaw just dropped.

    I always advise my students to just forget about shall (Spend time working on your phrasal verbs.) because you will never NOT understand a sentence that you hear that uses 'shall,' but you might very well have a mental breakdown and jump headfirst down the well if you try to learn the distinction.

    Mark in Perth.

    Gee, now I don't feel so silly about knowing about one percent as much about the semi-modals 'need' and 'dare' as those who posted texts earlier!!

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    #8

    Re: the use of shall

    Quote Originally Posted by mark in perth View Post

    The distinction is as dead now as that between 'may' and can.'
    Not in all variants. It does still survive in British English in the specific usage the poster asked about. Learners can easily never use the form, but even if something is fairly low frequency, it does not mean it's dead. I also still see a distinction between 'may' and 'can' for permission- many speakers see 'may' as somehow more polite.

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    #9

    Re: the use of shall

    Thanks to all,

    I will print everything and read it carefully.
    And if I have further questions, I will torment you again.
    very many thanks
    cip

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    #10

    Re: the use of shall

    Torment away, cip.

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