shall(shal; unstressed shəl),USA pronunciationauxiliary v., pres. sing. 1st pers.shall,2ndshall or (Archaic) shalt,3rdshall,pres. pl.shall* past sing. 1st pers.should,2ndshould or (Archaic) shouldstorshould•est,3rdshould,past pl.should; imperative, infinitive, and participles lacking.
plan to, intend to, or expect to:I shall go later.
will have to, is determined to, or definitely will:You shall do it. He shall do it.
(in laws, directives, etc.) must; is or are obliged to:The meetings of the council shall be public.
(used interrogatively in questions, often in invitations):Shall we go?
bef. 900; Middle English shal, Old English sceal; cognate with Old Saxon skal, Old High German scal, Old Norse skal; compare German soll, Dutch zal
The traditional rule of usage guides dates from the 17th century and says that to denote future time shall is used in the first person (I shall leave. We shall go) and will in all other persons (You will be there, won't you? He will drive us to the airport. They will not be at the meeting). The rule continues that to express determination, will is used in the first person (We will win the battle) and shall in the other two persons (You shall not bully us. They shall not pass). Whether this rule was ever widely observed is doubtful. Today, will is used overwhelmingly in all three persons and in all types of speech and writing both for the simple future and to express determination. Shall has some use in all persons, chiefly in formal writing or speaking, to express determination:I shall return. We shall overcome.Shall also occurs in the language of laws and directives:All visitors shall observe posted regulations.Most educated native users of American English do not follow the textbook rule in making a choice between shall and will. See also should.
shall/ʃæl; (unstressed) ʃəl/vb (pastshould) takes an infinitive withoutto or an implied infinitive:
esp withI or we as subject: used as an auxiliary to make the future tense: we shall see you tomorrow Comparewill1
withyou, 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
Etymology: Old English sceal; related to Old Norse skal, Old High German scal, Dutch zal USAGE 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