General Question

prasad's avatar

Do you use "shall" or prefer "will"?

Asked by prasad (3841points) April 29th, 2012

Is the word “shall” getting outdated?
How do you use it anyway? Examples are appreciated.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

28 Answers

bewailknot's avatar

Oh, what shall I do? I don’t think I will ever use shall.

chewhorse's avatar

I would use ‘shall’ either in a poem or at a high brow dinner.. For normal every day use I’d stick with ‘will’.. (Will’s a good ole boy anyway).

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t use it often but I think I do use it. It would depend on the context.

“They have a great shoe sale on at the local department store,” Julie said.

“I shall have to go shoe shopping then!”

CaliforniaKin's avatar

“Shall we dance?” or “Will we dance?”
“Shall” suggests that we should dance. It is an invitation to dance. It is a request.
“Will” is a question where the outcome is unknown. Will we dance (or is your leg hurt so we can’t)?

“Shall we go to the movies?” is a request to go to the movies.
“Will we go to the movies?” is a question with an unknown outcome.


Plucky's avatar

I think I use “shall” more often.

“I shall do it.”
“What shall we do?”
“Shall I get that for you?”
“Oh, I shall!”

prasad's avatar

@All Thanks jellies. I shall give lurve to you!
@CaliforniaKin Interesting. I didn’t know that. Thank you.

zenvelo's avatar

I use “shall” quite a bit , especially in my writing at work. I use it a bit in conversation, but since I usually speak with a lot of contractions, it’s hard to to tell. I’ll let you know….

anartist's avatar

I use “shall” when I mean shall and “will” when I mean will. “Shall” is related to “should: and “will” related to “would.”

marinelife's avatar

Shall I answer your question? I will, I will.

Trillian's avatar

I shan’t cease using “shall”.

john65pennington's avatar

The word WILL is like a direct order.

The word SHALL is less direct, but still means WILL’

When the laws on domestic violence changed, the Feds handed down an order that stated “the police shall make an arrest in all domestic violence police calls”. That was a pretty definite order. But, shall, somehow just seemed to be a better word, than will.

nikipedia's avatar

I can’t think of a single context in which I would use shall.

Sunny2's avatar

What shall I do?
What will I do?
The first implies and open, undecided result.
The second implies a completed result.
Shall I shut the door?
Will I shut the door?

blueiiznh's avatar

Grammatical use from what I recall is that you use shall to indicate the future if you are using first person (I or we) and will if you are using second or third person (you, he, she, or they).

But, what do I know.

Trillian's avatar

Usage Discussion of SHALL
From the reams of pronouncements written about the distinction between shall and will—dating back as far as the 17th century—it is clear that the rules laid down have never very accurately reflected actual usage. The nationalistic statements of 18th and 19th century British grammarians, who commonly cited the misuses of the Irish, the Scots, and occasionally the Americans, suggest that the traditional rules may have come closest to the usage of southern England. Some modern commentators believe that English usage is still the closest to the traditionally prescribed norms. Most modern commentators allow that will is more common in nearly all uses. The entries for shall and will in this dictionary show current usage.

submariner's avatar

I almost never use shall in conversation. I sometimes use it in formal writing if it seems appropriate for the audience. (I speak US English; maybe shall is used more in UK spoken English).

I’ve been told that the convention used to be that in the first person, shall should normally be used, with will being reserved for emphatic usage, but vice versa in second or third person. So “I will” is more emphatic than “I shall”, but “it shall” is more emphatic than “it will”.

Ron_C's avatar

I shall continue to use that word. I will use it wherever appropriate.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@anartist I have never heard of “shall” meaning should, so I looked it up, and I am not seeing anything to support that. @blueiznh I am seeing your rules listed, which says that it is proper to say “I shall” but “you will.” However, the word is so archaic that the rules hardly apply anymore.

I only use “shall” if I am being dramatic.

What shall we do?
I shall never get over that!

blueiiznh's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt I agree, but depending on whether you are in the world may vary. In the US, I think the usage of shall has been somewhat replaced by will with regard to this rule.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@blueiiznh Agreed. Anyway, I learned something new today. Now if I can just remember it. Ha-ha!

HarryPotterFreak's avatar

I use both. You shall go to the ball! You will go to the ball!

ShanEnri's avatar

I too use both! I shall read now. I will read now.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I only use “shall” with the word “thou”, because “thou will not park here” sounds weird.

tranquilsea's avatar

I use both. It depend on what mood I’m in.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

While I use both, I use “will” more often.

prasad's avatar

Thanks all of you!

@zenvelo I was thinking that shall is more used in speaking than in writing.
@john65pennington I didn’t know shall can be used to indicate/give orders.
@submariner I almost forgot “I shall” and “it will” rule.

While I reply to some of jellies does not mean I neglect other jellies; it’s only that I am in agreement with you and that I am unable to think what to reply Thanks again for spending your time crafting the responses. And also, I have tried to avoid repeating “thank you” to each one.

sinscriven's avatar

“Shall” in formal speech for me.
I don’t use “will” that often in informal speech though, usually i’ll just use the contraction.

anartist's avatar

I should say shall if I’m obliged to, but I would say will if I want to. :-)

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