Future 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

Subject + Modal + INF

Subj + Modal + not + INF

?

Modal + Subj + INF

I will swim

I will not (won't) swim

Will you swim?

+

-

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!

We use Will or Shall + INF to:

We use Will or Shall + INF to:

state facts about the future

                          

                 We shall need a new car next year

  • make offers of help

                          

                       I shall open the door for you

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?

                      

Shall with I & We

Fundamental future structures

Further expressions to talk about the future

Further future structures

Modal verbs

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