Monday, February 21, 2011

018 Should I use 'shall' or 'will' ?

Should I use 'shall' or 'will'?


Traditional principles
*Use 'shall' to indicate simple future intention, when the subject is in first person. e.g.: I shall come, we shall come. (There is no certainty or determination.)
*Use 'will' to indicate simple future intention, when the subject is in second or third person. e.g.: You will come, he will come, she will come, it will come, they will come.
*Use 'will' to indicate certainty or determination, when the subject is in first person. e.g.: I will come, we will come.
*Use 'shall' to indicate certainty or determination, when the subject is in second or third person. e.g.: You shall come, he shall come, she shall come, it shall come, they shall come
The degree of determination and certainty is slightly less than 'should'. 'Should' imposes a duty. When somebody says 'you shall come' , he means that he is speaking with such a degree of certainty that it becomes a near-duty for the other person to come.

Current usage
'Will' has lost its certainty in all the persons. It, nowadays indicates just simple future.

e.g. I will come. (The 'will' has lost its 'will power' in current usage.) We cannot find any definiteness or determination in today's conversations.

Suggestion
I feel that it will be better for us to adhere to the traditional principles of 'shall - will ' distinction.

Usage 'should'
'Should' was originally the past tense of 'shall'. Some people use it in the same sense even now, particularly in indirect speech (reported speech). 'Should' is gradually settling itself in the meaning of a duty.


1 comment:

Shahzaib Khan said...

This is very interesting post about Shall Grammar - Shall vs Will. This blog is very useful for improving grammar.

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