verb (3rd singular present shall)
Old English sceal, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zal and German soll, from a base meaning 'owe'
There is considerable confusion about when to use shall and will. The traditional rule in standard British English is that shall is used with first person pronouns (I and we) to form the future tense, while will is used with second and third persons (you, he, she, it, they), e.g. I shall be late; she will not be there. To express a strong determination to do something these positions are reversed, with will being used with the first person and shall with the second and third persons, e.g. I will not tolerate this; you shall go to school. In practice, however, shall and will are today used more or less interchangeably in statements (though not in questions). Given that the forms are frequently contracted (we’ll, she’ll, etc.) there is often no need to make a choice between shall and will, another factor no doubt instrumental in weakening the distinction. The interchangeable use of shall and will is now part of standard British and US English.