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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
shall /ʃæl; unstressed ʃəl/USA pronunciation
auxiliary (modal) v., pres. shall;
imperative, infinitive, and participles lacking.
[~ + root form of a verb]
- (used to express plans or intentions concerning the main verb, esp. with regard to the future):I shall go later.
- (used to express the necessity, strong intention, or determination of carrying out the action of the main verb):You shall get those x-rays immediately.
- (used to express that the action of the main verb must be carried out):Council meetings shall be held in public.
- (used in question forms to make an offer, suggestion, or request for advice):Shall I help you, or do you want to do it yourself? Shall I apologize to her?
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
shall /ʃæl; (unstressed) ʃəl/ vb ( past should)
takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive:
Etymology: Old English sceal; related to Old Norse skal, Old High German scal, Dutch zalUSAGE
esp with I or we as subject: used as an auxiliary to make the future tense: we shall see you tomorrow
- with you, he, she, it, they, or a noun as subject: used as an auxiliary to indicate determination on the part of the speaker, as in issuing a threat: you shall pay for this!
- used as an auxiliary to indicate compulsion, now esp in official documents
- used as an auxiliary to indicate certainty or inevitability: our day shall come
- (with any noun or pronoun as subject, esp in conditional clauses or clauses expressing doubt) used as an auxiliary to indicate nonspecific futurity: I don't think I shall ever see her again, he doubts whether he shall be in tomorrow
The usual rule given for the use of shall and will is that where the meaning is one of simple futurity, shall is used for the first person of the verb and will for the second and third: I shall go tomorrow; they will be there now. Where the meaning involves command, obligation, or determination, the positions are reversed: it shall be done; I will definitely go. However, shall has come to be largely neglected in favour of will, which has become the commonest form of the future in all three persons
'shall will' also found in these entries: