Definition of shall in English:

shall

Syllabification: shall
Pronunciation: /SHal
 
, SHəl
 
/

verb (3rd singular present shall)

1(In the first person) expressing the future tense: this time next week I shall be in Scotland
More 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.
2Expressing a strong assertion or intention: they shall succeed you shall not frighten me out of this
More example sentences
  • Richard is determined that he shall succeed to the crown and sets out to eliminate any opposition to this and to secure his position.
  • One shall be a Warrior, strong and oft silent, though charitable and kind underneath.
  • I will stand in your heart as fierce as the lion of Judah, as strong as the temple we shall build.
3Expressing an instruction or command: you shall not steal
More 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.
4Used in questions indicating offers or suggestions: shall I send you the book? shall we go?
More example sentences
  • The question here is where shall we go for this data and what data will we need next?

Origin

Old English sceal, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zal and German soll, from a base meaning 'owe'.

Usage

There is considerable confusion about when to use shall and will. The traditional rule in standard 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): 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: 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 (although 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. In modern English, the interchangeable use of shall and will is an acceptable part of standard US and British English.

Definition of shall in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day dinkum
Pronunciation: ˈdiNGkəm
adjective
(of an article or person) genuine