By creating an account, you agree to our terms of service.
When do we use 'shall' in modern English?
I am one of the few people I know who still uses "shall" somewhat regularly. I use it to express my intention to do something in the future. I shall meet with a student on Skype tomorrow. To be fair though, I read and reread the novels of Thomas Hardy and other nineteenth century British writers and I often sprinkle them into my otherwise "modern" NAmE (North American English).
When it could be replaced with "will", I don't use it:
"Tomorrow we shall/will find out who wins."
I will use it for questions about some possible action in the future:
"Shall we wait for them to arrive before we leave?"[If I used "will", the decision has already been made]
we use "shall " with the future tense for future action first person pronouns I / we.
And for other pronouns, like when Gandalf said: "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!".
I use it both as an alternative to "will" and also for suggestions, e.g. "Shall we go the pub tonight?".
"Shall" is used to express something which may happen in future.
"shall" is also used in the legal context to express something that is mandatory. For example, a statute might provide: "Income taxes shall be due and payable on April 15 of each calendar year." A contract for the sale of land might state, "Seller shall deliver a deed to Buyer upon Buyer's payment in full for the property."
The use of "shall" in these examples serves to impose a legal obligation.
Shall we dance? (Song lyrics) from "The King and I"
Shall is one of the modal verbs used in the "Future Tense" with "I and we" in questions such as "Shall we dance"
When referring to something that you are sure will happen to you in the future you use shall, "I shall miss him terribly"
We shall use it whenever we see fit.
I use it often, but in only one instance. If I'm with a friend or group of friends, and we're about ready to leave to go somewhere, I'll just say "Well, Shall we?" as in "Shall we leave?"