Shall vs. Will

Expressing simple future

Shall can be used with first person pronouns (I, we) to express simple future.

  • We shall discuss the matter with them.
  • shall write to him.
  • We shall invite them for dinner.

With the second (you) and third person (he, she, they, it) pronouns, we use will to express simple futurity.

  • I am sure he will come.
  • The train will leave at 7:30 pm.
  • He will be at university soon.

Showing determination

Will can be used with first person pronouns to express ideas such as determination, willingness, promise, threat etc.

  • We will not surrender. (Determination)
  • will do it, whatever happens (Determination)
  • will teach you a lesson. (Threat)
  • Yes, I will lend you my car for the day. (Willingness)

With second (you) and third person (he, she, they) pronouns, shall can be used to express similar ideas.

  • You shall get a medal if you stand first. (Promise)
  • He shall be given a present if he passes this year. (Promise)
  • You shall go at once. (Order)
  • They shall pay for this in due course. (Threat)

Notes

The distinction between shall and will is now strictly observed only by precise speakers. Shall is becoming increasingly less common with second and third person pronouns. In the first person, however, shall is still used to indicate the simple future.

In conversation, people generally use the shortened form ’ll which may be a contraction of either shall or will.

  • We’ll invite them for dinner.
  • I’ll be going to Mumbai tomorrow.
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Manjusha

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets. You may also want to check out my other blogs IELTS Practice and NCERT Guides

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