Shall and Will

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Not so long ago, both “shall” and “will” were used as auxiliary verbs to express The Simple Future Tense. SHALL was used for the first persons of singular and plural ( I shall go, we shall go) and WILL for all others (you will, he/she will, they will). However, it’s no longer the case. Now we use WILL for all persons in The Simple Future Tense and SHALL mostly in questions and some formal phrases.

When to use WILL

If you’ve ever had any doubts about which auxiliary verb to use in the Simple Future Tense, WILL is used for all persons in both singular and plural.

We will begin to work in September.

How long do you think this heat will last?

The shops will be open at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning.

The contracted form for WILL is ‘LL.

I think he‘ll be a great pianist.

WILL NOT can be shortened to WON’T

Don’t worry, mum. We won’t go far.

When to use SHALL

In more formal English, there is a rule which states that we should use SHALL in the first person only for phrases referring to offers, suggestions and advice.

It’s so hot! Shall I open the window?

Shall we go? I’m tired.

My car broke down. What shall I do?

We use SHALL as a question tag in sentences with “Let’s…”

Let’s go for a swim, shall we?

We also use SHALL in some formal phrases, such as:

The students who are taking the exam shall submit their application forms a week earlier.

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