Will & Shall

Form

Will and Shall are modal verbs.


Modal verbs follow a fundamental structure of Subject + Modal + Infinitive

Modal verbs always come first. Modal verbs do not adjust for Past, present or Future.

For more information on Modal verbs please refer to the Modal verb fundamentals guide.


Will is a more modern version of the slightly old fashioned word Shall. Because of this, some textbooks and teachers describe Shall as more formal than Will. It is more accurate to describe Shall as emphatic language. In the spoken form we normally contract both to 'll so they sound and look the same.

Function

We use Will or Shall + INF to:

  • announce a decision for an action in the future or make a prediction about the future

If the cinema is closed what will you do?

I will have a party on Saturday instead!


  • announce a decision for an action in the future or make a prediction about the future

We shall need a new car next year


  • state facts about the future

  We shall need a new car next year

Shall  with I & We


Shall can be used instead of Will in statements with I & We. It is often considered more formal but  can also be treated as more emphatic because it is not used as often as Will :

We shall always remember our time in Paris

Shall can be used with I & We in questions used to make suggestions about the future :

Shall we book a table for dinner?

Related Topics


Modal verbs here


Fundamental future structures here


Further expressions to talk about the future here


Further future structures here

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