Will or Shall, which must I use?

14/10/2010 23:20

Will or Shall, which must I use? 


Formerly, SHALL and WILL were used to indicate the future. However,


shall was used only with the pronouns I and weSo we had, for example,

Shall I study?, will you study?,  will he study?, Shall we study?, etc.


But this difference was before. There was a time when the English teachers



here in Brazil used to say that shall is used for British English and this is the



real difference.

In fact, shall used in place of will to express the future in everyday life has been



abandoned long ago, both in English British and in American English. Today,



according to many linguists and lexicographers shall is rarely used this way.



However, it still appears in highly formal: documents, contracts, orders, etc.

The fact is that shall is used widely in everyday life to express an invitation. 



Remember the movie Shall we dance?  with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez?  



This because the idea is that he invites her to dance. The translation of this 



case would be Do you like to dance?  But you see, this structure - Shall we ...?



is only used when you included yourself in the invitation. That is, it is not the same



thing as saying Would you like to ...?Actually, Shall we ...? is even more formal



than would you like to ...


Beware of the phrase What shall we do now?  that means  What do we do now?

Another way that shall is often used today is the expression Shall I ..?  See:


Shall I open the window? [You want me to open the window?] 



Shall I stay here with you? [You want me to stay here with you?]  



Shall I go and talk to her? [You want me to go talk to her?]



In this case you are politely offering to do something. Or that is, use Shall I. ..? 



to demonstrate education, politeness, good manners to offer to help someone. 



A woman carrying several exhausted



bags while climbing a ladder, certainly like to hear Shall I carry your bags? 



educated people like you, right?

To finish, see the sentences below:



Let's go out, shall we? [Let's go, shall we?]



Let's stay here, shall we? [Let's stay here, okay?]



Let's talk to daddy, shall we? [We'll talk to Dad, okay?]



Shall we?  in this case is the tag question of 'let's'. 



The meaning is: that such? , ok? , okay? .

That's it!



Evandro Carlos Braggio

October, 2010