shall
verb (past should; present singular & plural shall) Etymology: Middle English shal (1st & 3d singular present indicative), from Old English sceal; akin to Old High German scal (1st & 3d singular present indicative) ought to, must, Lithuanian skola debt Date: before 12th century verbal auxiliary 1. archaic a. will have to ; must b. will be able to ; can 2. a. — used to express a command or exhortation <
you shall go
>
b. — used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory <
it shall be unlawful to carry firearms
>
3. a. — used to express what is inevitable or seems likely to happen in the future <
we shall have to be ready
>
<
we shall see
>
b. — used to express simple futurity <
when shall we expect you
>
4. — used to express determination <
they shall not pass
>
intransitive verb archaic will go <
he to England shall along with you — Shakespeare
>
Usage: From the reams of pronouncements written about the distinction between shall and will—dating back as far as the 17th century—it is clear that the rules laid down have never very accurately reflected actual usage. The nationalistic statements of 18th and 19th century British grammarians, who commonly cited the misuses of the Irish, the Scots, and occasionally the Americans, suggest that the traditional rules may have come closest to the usage of southern England. Some modern commentators believe that English usage is still the closest to the traditionally prescribed norms. Most modern commentators allow that will is more common in nearly all uses. The entries for shall and will in this dictionary show current usage.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shall — Shall, v. i. & auxiliary. [imp. {Should}.] [OE. shal, schal, imp. sholde, scholde, AS. scal, sceal, I am obliged, imp. scolde, sceolde, inf. sculan; akin to OS. skulan, pres. skal, imp. skolda, D. zullen, pres. zal, imp. zoude, zou, OHG. solan,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shall — [ ʃəl, strong ʃæl ] modal verb *** Shall is usually followed by an infinitive without to : I shall explain everything later. Sometimes it is used without a following infinitive: I have never visited Africa and probably never shall. Shall does not …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • shall — verb as required will, by compulsion will, by imperative will, mandatorily will, obligatorily will associated concepts: shall be lawful, shall be legal, shall become, shall give, shall have, shall not, shall perform, shall work Burton s Legal… …   Law dictionary

  • shall — W1S3 [ʃəl strong ʃæl] modal v negative short form shan t [: Old English; Origin: sceal] 1.) shall I/we...? spoken used to make a suggestion, or ask a question that you want the other person to decide about ▪ Shall I open the window? ▪ Shall we… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • shall — [shal] v.aux. pt.should [ME schal, pl. schullen < OE sceal, inf. sceolan, akin to Ger sollen < IE base * (s)kel , to be indebted > Lith skeliù, to owe] 1. used in the first person to indicate simple future time [I shall probably go… …   English World dictionary

  • shall — ► MODAL VERB (3rd sing. present shall) 1) (in the first person) expressing the future tense. 2) expressing a strong assertion or intention. 3) expressing an instruction or command. 4) used in questions indicating offers or suggestions. USAGE… …   English terms dictionary

  • shall — (v.) O.E. sceal I owe/he owes, will have to, ought to, must (infinitive sculan, pt. sceolde), a common Germanic preterite present verb, from P.Gmc. *skal , *skul (Cf. O.S. sculan, O.N., Swed. skola, M.Du. sullen, O.H.G. solan, Ger. sollen, Goth.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • shall — [[t]ʃəl, STRONG ʃæl[/t]] ♦♦ (Shall is a modal verb. It is used with the base form of a verb.) 1) MODAL You use shall with I and we in questions in order to make offers or suggestions, or to ask for advice. Shall I get the keys?... I bought some… …   English dictionary

  • shall */*/*/ — strong UK [ʃæl] / US weak UK [ʃəl] / US modal verb Summary: Shall is usually followed by an infinitive without to : I shall explain everything later. Sometimes it is used without a following infinitive: I have never visited America and probably… …   English dictionary

  • shall — /shal/; unstressed /sheuhl/, auxiliary v., pres. sing. 1st pers. shall, 2nd shall or (Archaic) shalt, 3rd shall, pres. pl. shall; past sing. 1st pers. should, 2nd …   Universalium

  • shall */*/*/ — weak [ʃəl] , strong [ʃæl] modal verb summary: ■ Shall is usually followed by an infinitive without ‘to : I shall explain everything later. Sometimes it is used without a following infinitive: I have never visited America and probably never shall …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

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