shall vs. should

blizzy

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Mar 12, 2017
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Look at the following sentences.
Does it matter whether I use "shall" or "should"?

Shall we go out tonight?
Should we go out tonight?
Let's be friends again, shall we?
Let's be friends again, should we?
Shall I sweeten your coffee?
Should I sweeten your coffee?
Shall we go for a swim this afternoon?
Should we go for a swim this afternoon?
 

Skrej

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The only one that absolutely doesn't work is #4.

However, 'shall' is rather formal and old-fashioned in AmE. You rarely see it used outside of legal documents. I believe it's much more common in BrE, however.
 

emsr2d2

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"Shall" is more common in BrE and is perfectly natural in sentences 1, 5 and 7.
Sentence 4, as Skrej said, doesn't work.

For me, the sentences with "Shall" are simply suggestions. The ones with "Should" are asking "Would it be a good idea ...?"
 
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