Uses of Will
Announcing decisions using will
We have seen that the future tense forms are constructed with will and shall. Will and shall are also used in offers, promises and orders. In these cases will usually expresses ideas such as willingness, wishes and intentions. Shall expresses obligation.
Will and its contracted form ‘ll are often used to announce decisions as we make it.
- OK, I will buy the tickets if you will buy the drinks.
- ‘You can have it for $10.’ ‘OK, I will buy it.’
- ‘There is the door bell.’ ‘I will go.’
Shall is not used in this way.
We do not usually use will or shall to talk about decisions that have already been made. Instead, we use the present progressive or going to.
- Now that we have agreed on a price, I am going to buy it. (More natural than ‘… I will buy it’)
To talk about refusals we use won’t.
- I won’t go.
- He won’t do it.
- It won’t work.
Giving instructions and orders
We can use will you…? to ask people to do things.
- Will you please come here?
- Will you move a bit?
- Will you please keep quiet?
In polite requests we use would you…?
- Will you make me a cup of coffee? (An order or instruction)
- Would you make me a cup of coffee? (More polite request)
Will is also used in threats and promises.
- If you do that again I will break your neck.
- I promise I won’t do that again.