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Rules of Using Will and Shall


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Rule 1. Under ordinary circumstances, ‘shall’ is used when a First person Pronoun- ‘I’ or ‘We’- is the Subject and ‘will’ is used when a Second or Third person Pronoun- ‘You’, ‘He’, ‘She’, ‘it’, ‘They’ etc.- is the subject. Both ‘will’ and ‘shall’ refer to the plan of an action at a future time. They indicate future predictions. In spoken English ‘will’ is contracted to ‘ll. In modern English “will” or ‘ll can also be used in place of shall. The rigid distinction between shall and will has almost disappeared. In more formal contexts ‘will’ can also be used with ‘I’ and ‘we’. Then ‘shall’ is not obligatory.

Rule 2. ‘Will’ is used as Modal with First Person Pronouns to express determination. In such cases ‘will’ is stressed in speech.

Rule 3. ‘Will’ as a Modal is used with First Person Pronouns to express a threat.

Rule 4. Under ordinary circumstances, ‘will’ is used with Second and Third Person Pronouns to denote the plan of an action at a future time.

Rule 5. ‘Shall’ as a Modal is used with Second and Third Person Pronouns to express a promise, order or instructions.

Rule 6. ‘Shall’ as a Modal is used with Second and Third Person pronouns to indicate a command.

Rule 7. ‘Shall’ as a Modal is used with Second and Third person Pronouns to express a threat or warning.

Rule 8. ‘Shall’ as a Modal is used with Second and Third Person pronouns to express compulsion or coercion.

Rule 9. ‘Shall’ is used to indicate offers or suggestions.

Rule 10. Both ‘shall’ and ‘will’ can express determination. ‘Shall’ is more formal, especially when used with pronouns other than I or We.


Sample Usage

Examples: Rule 1.

1.We shall (or We’ll) pay you a visit tomorrow.
2.We shall sink and swim together.
3.We shall (or We’ll) celebrate Sonu’s birthday in the evening.
4.We shall win the match.
5.I shall (or I’ll) take part in the race.
6.I shall pay your money back next week.
7.I shall (or I’ll) tell you a story.


Examples: Rule 2.

1.We will face the enemy bravely.
2.I will teach him a lesson for life.
3.We will end poverty and corruption.
4.I will avenge the death of my father.
5.I will not invite him to the party.
6.We will respect women.
7.I will serve my country.


Examples: Rule 3.

1.I will knock out your brain.
2.If you shout, I will cut your throat.
3.We will kick you out of the house.
4.We will send you to hell.
5.I will beat you to a pulp.
6.We will set your house on fire.


Examples: Rule 4.

1.You will pass the examination next year.
2.He will build a new house in Shimla.
3.It will rain tomorrow.
4.It will need a lot of time and money.
5.The police will arrest the thief.
6.My brother will run the whole show.


Examples: Rule 5.

1.The school shall remain closed on Monday.
2.Candidates shall remain in their seats until all the answer books have been collected.
3.Tenants shall maintain the property in good condition.
4.She shall make you all happy.
5.They shall soon receive the happy news.
6.They shall come, if you invite them.


Examples: Rule 6.

1.Thou shalt not steal.
2.Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
3.Thou shall not lie.
4.You shall stay at home.
5.The servant shall cook the meals.
6.You shall mind your own business.


Examples: Rule 7.

1.You shall repent for what you have done.
2.He shall pay through the nose.
3.She shall do it at her own peril.
4.You shall suffer throughout your life.
5.If you touch it, you shall die.


Examples: Rule 8.

1.You shall not move out of bed.
2.She shall wash all the dishes.
3.He shall pay the fine.
4.No teacher shall miss the prayer service.
5.They shall remain present in the class.
6.She shall get no holiday this week.


Examples: Rule 9.

1.Shall I do the washing up?
2.What shall we do this week-end?


Examples: Rule 10.

1.He shall be given a fair trial.
2.You’ll have your radio back on Tuesday.


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