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Difference Between Will and Shall

Will vs Shall

The words “will” and “shall” are modal verbs which are used to express suggestions about the future. They are usually used interchangeably in both the British and U.S. English languages. The use of “shall,” though, is already outmoded and “will” is most often used at present.

The word “shall” is used to express a command, something that is mandatory such as in the case of regulations and laws. It indicates a determination and what is inescapable as in this sentence: “You shall have to go.” It is used to imply a necessity, an obligation, and what is supposed to be. Some handbooks provide that “shall” is used in the first person for its simple future tense. For example: “I shall leave in the morning so that I can return early in the afternoon.” The word “shall” comes from the Middle English word “shal,” which came from the Old English word “sceal,” which in turn is derived from the Old High German word “scal” which means “must” or “ought to.” Its first known use was before the 12th century.

The word “will,” on the other hand, comes from the Old English word “wille” or “wyllan,” which is similar to the Old High German word “wili,” which was derived from the Latin word “velle” meaning “to wish” or “to will.” It was first used before the 12th century.

It is a helping verb that is used with other verbs but does not have a conjugations of its own. It is usually used in the second and third persons for its simple future tense. For example: “You will not go with them.” “He will come tomorrow.” It indicates an intention, willingness, desire, a habitual action or tendency, or a refusal. Examples are the following sentences: (1) “ I will go to the city in the morning.” (Intention) (2) “He will not go even if he is left alone in the house.” (Refusal)

The word “shall” is used to indicate something that is required while the word “will” is used to indicate the statement of a fact. “Will” is also used to refer to something of habit or something expected while “shall” is used in making a promise, a command, or a threat.

In using both words in an interrogative sentence, the right word to use would be the one that is expected in the answer. Examples: (1) “Shall we go now?” “Yes, we shall.” (2) “Will you come early tomorrow?” “Yes, I will.”

Summary:

1.The word “will” is a modal verb which is used in the second and third persons in its future tense while the word “shall” is also a modal verb which is used in the first person in its future tense.
2.The word “shall” has a stronger connotation than the word “will.”
3.The word “shall” is used to indicate something that is required, in making promises, commands, and threats while the word “will” is used to indicate an intention or something that is expected.
4.The word “shall” comes from the Old English word “sceal” while the word “will” comes from the Old English word “wille.”


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1 Comment

  1. ahh . now i know.. because i’ve been always curious of this two words .. thanks a lot ! :)

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