lunes, 18 de julio de 2011

Shall or will?

created the doc: "Shall versus Will"
Zoe Miller created the doc: "Shall versus Will"

Shall versus Will

People may sometimes tell you that there is no difference between shall and will, or even that today nobody uses shall (except in offers such as "Shall I call a taxi?"). This is not really true. The difference between shall and will is often hidden by the fact that we usually contract them in speaking with 'll. But the difference does exist.

The truth is that there are two conjugations for the verb will:

1st Conjugation (objective, simple statement of fact):

Singular: I shall (I’ll), you will (you’ll), he/she/it will ( he’ll/she’ll/it’ll) - I shall be in London tomorrow. You will see a large building on the left. He will be wearing blue.

Plural: We shall (we’ll), you will ( you’ll), they will (they’ll) - We shall not be there when you arrive. You will find his office on the 7th floor. They will arrive late.

Negative: I shall not (shan’t), you will not (won’t), he will not, we shall not, you will not, they will not. - I shan’t be in London tomorrow. They won’t arrive late.

2nd Conjugation (subjective, strong assertion, promise or command) :

Singular: I will (I’ll), you shall (you’ll), he/she/it shall ( he’ll/she’ll/it’ll) - I will do everything possible to help. You shall be sorry for this. It shall be done.

Plural: We will (we’ll), you shall (you’ll), they shall (they’ll) - We will not interfere. You shall do as you're told. They shall give one month's notice.

Negative: I will not (won’t), you shall not (shan’t), he shall not, we will not, you shall not, they shall not. - I won’t do anything to help.

It is true that this difference is not universally recognized. However, let those who make assertions such as "People in the USA never use 'shall'" peruse a good US English dictionary, or many US legal documents which often contain phrases such as:

Each party shall give one month's notice in writing in the event of termination.

Note that exactly the same rule applies in the case of should and would. It is perfectly normal, and somewhat more elegant, to write, for example:

I should be grateful if you would kindly send me your latest catalogue.

Information taken from English

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