Share this entry

American English: /ʃæl/
, /ʃəl/
British English: /ʃal/
, /ʃ(ə)l/

modal verb past tense should

  • 1 (with 1st person) 1.1 (in statements about the future) See examples: I/we shall be very interested to see what happens
    tendré/tendremos mucho interés en ver qué sucede
    I said we should have to economize
    dije que tendríamos que economizar
    we shan't be able to come (British English)
    no podremos or no vamos a poder venir
    Jenny, pick up your toys — shan't! (British English)
    Jenny, recoge los juguetes — ¡no quiero!
    Example sentences
    • I shall ignore the questions which do not apply to a particular item.
    • I shall return to this question later at paragraph 124 and following.
    • Where I think it relevant, helpful and permissible to take into account other material I shall indicate what it is.
    1.2 (making suggestions, asking for assent)
    The present tense is used in this type of question in Spanish
    shall I open/close the window?
    ¿abro/cierro la ventana?
    ¿quieres ( or quiere etc) que abra/cierre la ventana?
    shall we go out tonight?
    ¿qué te ( or le etc) parece si salimos esta noche?
    shall we dance?
    I'll ask him, shall I?
    le pregunto ¿sí? or ¿te ( or le etc) parece?
    let's try again, shall we?
    intentémoslo otra vez ¿sí? or ¿te ( or le etc) parece?
    whatever shall we do? (British English)
    ¿qué podemos hacer?
    Example sentences
    • The question here is where shall we go for this data and what data will we need next?
  • 2 (with 2nd and 3rd persons) (in commands, promises etc) See examples: they shall not pass
    no pasarán
    thou shalt not steal (Bible)
    Example sentences
    • Under your command shall be the battleships Loyalty and Honour, and the frigates Hope and Truth.
    • Two years ago, I received an email from an executive in the cinema exhibition industry, who shall remain nameless.
    • From the hubbub and colorful chaos of Delhi she journeyed to a town in the Midwest that shall remain unnamed.

Definition of shall in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources


    Next Score:
    Word of the day doofus
    Pronunciation: ˈduːfʌs
    a stupid person
    Cultural fact of the day


    In some Andean countries, particularly Chile, onces is a light meal eaten between five and six p.m., the equivalent of "afternoon tea" in Britain. In Colombia, on the other hand, onces is a light snack eaten between breakfast and lunch. It is also known as mediasnueves.