A lot of people use shall and will interchangeably thinking that there is no actual difference between the two. But, we are here to tell you that it is wrong. There are differences between shall vs will which we all must know. This will not only help you gain knowledge but also make use of the terms correctly. Just because people don’t use shall that often these days does not mean that it is okay to replace it with will whenever you wish to. The difference between these terms is often hidden by the fact we generally contract them in speaking with ‘ll. Needless to say, the difference is very much there, which we will learn about today.
Talking about the future in the English language, we can make use of various forms including the present continuous like be going to, shall and will. One of the easiest terms to use is shall and will because of the simple structure that they possess. However, they are equally easy to get confused between. Thus, what is the difference between shall vs will? This is exactly what we are here to answer. So, let us go through the difference between these terms, when and how to use them and finally their usage in sentences.
Difference between Shall Vs Will
If we look at it from the Modern English point of view, we find out that will and shall are helping verbs. We use them with other verbs, however, they lack conjugations of their own. Both of them are signs of the future tense.
More than often, American speakers rarely use shall. Another element to consider when using shall and will is a matter of courtesy. A difference is there on the basis of whether the verb we are using is with a first or second person subject. In other words, its uses depend on the relationship between the speakers.
For instance, our teachers, employers, teachers are within their rights to tell us something. So, they can say ‘You shall submit the project by tomorrow’. This kind of construction provides no alternative. It’s the same as saying ‘You must complete the project’.
However, when we speak to an equal, the choice is ours. Just remember that we use will for affirmative and negative sentences about the sentence. We can also use it for requests. However, to make an offer or suggestion, we use shall in the question form. Thus, the use shall for very formal statements, especially for describing obligations.
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When/How to Use Shall
We use to use shall as an alternative to will in the past. Thus, you will find many examples of this word in quite a lot of popular literary works. However, in the era of Modern English, we prefer using will for affirmative and negative sentences.
Thus, we must make use of shall when we wish to ask for suggestions and with the first person like I and we. Let us take a look at the incorrect and correct use of shall vs will to understand it clearly:
Incorrect: It’s getting late. Will we go home?
Correct: It’s getting late. Shall we go home?
When/How to Use Will
Will is one of the most common forms we use for expressing the future. It has an easy structure as it is same for all subjects, so we don’t have to change anything about the verb.
Remember to use will for the future tense and when you are offering help or agreeing or disagreeing with something. Moreover, use this word when planning to do something which you have not decided concretely. Let us take a look at the incorrect and correct use of shall vs will to understand it clearly:
Incorrect: I shall not tolerate such behaviour.
Correct: I will not tolerate such behaviour.
Examples of Shall – Using Shall in a Sentence
The sentence formation for shall is the same as will. We make use of shall in many ways. We use it to make offers using I or we, to make suggestions, for expressing formal obligations, making a promise, and describing the future very formally.
- Shall I make some dinner?
- Shall we buy something for him?
- The accused shall appear in court again on 15th March.
- I shall do everything I can to solve your problem.
- We shall overcome this difficult moment.
Examples of Will – Using Will in a Sentence
We make use of will for many purposes. It is used for describing the future, making a prediction, expressing a decision made at the moment of speaking, making a request, promises or offer and describing the consequence of a conditional phrase.
- The flights will be late today because of the bad weather.
- The earth’s population will grow substantially in the next thirty years.
- If you wait for ten minutes, the nurse will come and fetch you.
- Do you think John will come to the party if I invite him?
- I am busy but my nephew will show you around the city.