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Thread: I shall/I will

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    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    I shall/I will

    I wonder whether "I shall" in future tense is still in use somewhere. Everywhere I keep seeing "I will" instead of "I shall" as I've been taught to use a long time ago.

    And the second question is to native English speakers: does "I shall" sound too official or out of fashion to your ears?
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    Afaik "shall" is used only with I/we (according to my school texbooks), but in the LOTR I heard Gandalf say "You shall not pass!"?
    -- Да? Коту Ваське, бл##?
    -- Нет, Я кот Васька :-/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vincent Tailors
    Afaik "shall" is used only with I/we (according to my school texbooks), but in the LOTR I heard Gandalf say "You shall not pass!"?
    Gandalf is cool, but I meant not in books or movies but in everyday speech.
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    Re: I shall/I will

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    I wonder whether "I shall" in future tense is still in use somewhere. Everywhere I keep seeing "I will" instead of "I shall" as I've been taught to use a long time ago.

    And the second question is to native English speakers: does "I shall" sound too official or out of fashion to your ears?
    Yeah, we were taught at school that "shall" is kinda outdated, but I still hear it. It's rather confusing...

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    "Shall" remains alive and kicking, but mostly in fixed idiomatic expressions and folk songs. ;" It's hard to imagine a setting -- even a formal one -- where it would not sound slightly "affected", "pompous", or (at best) "quaint". When people use it now, they are invariably using it for effect. Generally, a comedic effect.

    As far as I'm concerned, it has been subsumed by "will".

    However, I hasten to add that it lingers in written English for some odd reason.
    —Ravin' Dave

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    Well, it's not that simple. 'Shall' has specific functions. I'll quote my dictionary.

    Quote
    1. You use shall with 'I' and 'we' in questions in order to make offers or suggestions, or to ask for advice.

    2. You use shall, usually with 'I' and 'we', when you are referring to something that you intend to do, or when you are referring to something that you are sure will happen to you in the future.

    3. You use shall with 'I' or 'we' during a speech or piece of writing to say what you are going to discuss or explain later. (FORMAL)

    4. You use shall to indicate that something must happen, usually because of a rule or law. You use shall not to indicate that something must not happen.

    5. You use shall, usually with 'you', when you are telling someone that they will be able to do or have something they want.
    Unquote

    I've left out the usage examples and a couple of other, less important, meanings since I'm lazy to type them all. My dictionary doesn't allow to copy the text into the clipboard unfortunately.
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    Thanks anyway, but I asked specifically for the use of shall in future indefinite tense with the pronoun I in modern speech.
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    in the LOTR I heard Gandalf say "You shall not pass!"?
    It's here for emphasis, AFAIK.

    "Ты ни за что не пройдешь!"

    If it was "You shall pass!", then "Ты обязательно пройдешь!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vadim84
    in the LOTR I heard Gandalf say "You shall not pass!"?
    It's here for emphasis, AFAIK.

    "Ты ни за что не пройдешь!"

    If it was "You shall pass!", then "Ты обязательно пройдешь!"
    Угу, You shall pass - это почти императив, приказ (пройдешь, сцуко, палюбому)
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    Причём тут emphasis? Мне русским языком говорили в школе, что shall юзается тока с I и We. И никак иначе.
    -- Да? Коту Ваське, бл##?
    -- Нет, Я кот Васька :-/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vadim84
    Well, it's not that simple. 'Shall' has specific functions.
    Yeah. In 1950.

    —Ravin' Dave

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    Причём тут emphasis? Мне русским языком говорили в школе, что shall юзается тока с I и We. И никак иначе.
    Мало ли что в школе говорили, тем более что "русским языком" . Это особый случай. Сам же только что привел пример с Гэндальфом, где shall юзается с you. И обрати внимание на эту строчку из словаря:
    5. You use shall, usually with 'you', when you are telling someone that they will be able to do or have something they want.

    Yeah. In 1950.
    And maybe in Brittish English? Okay, I'll make a mental note.
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    I say it everyday, I like the way it sounds. I don't think it sounds pompus, but as with all my words, what I say will depend on the audience. I wouldn't use 'shall' when I'm talking about tractors with farmers at the feed store. "Shall we?" becomes "Ya'onna?" (short for 'you want to?') in that situation. "I shall" becomes "I'm gonna" or "I'm fixin ta".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Layne
    I say it everyday, I like the way it sounds. I don't think it sounds pompus, but as with all my words, what I say will depend on the audience. I wouldn't use 'shall' when I'm talking about tractors with farmers at the feed store. "Shall we?" becomes "Ya'onna?" (short for 'you want to?') in that situation. "I shall" becomes "I'm gonna" or "I'm fixin ta".
    Is your using of "I shall" a personal peculiarity or you hear it also from others around?

    This "Ya'onna?" thing sounds funny. I'll try to remember that.
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    Re: I shall/I will

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    I wonder whether "I shall" in future tense is still in use somewhere. Everywhere I keep seeing "I will" instead of "I shall" as I've been taught to use a long time ago.
    In public intercourse it is used so rarely that it would only be spoken for some sort of effect, maybe to sound like you're speaking the true, King's English (and in that case it would also have a slightly comic overtone.) It's known to Americans mostly from set phrases or quotes such as "This too shall pass" i.e. troubles or General MacArthur's famous quote "I shall return" (to the Philippines). Either way, it sounds like "high language."
    However, it can be used casually such as saying "we shall see" when talking about the future. Among friends or family you can use it to sound sort of faux-pedantic or casual. For example: Jane says, "when are you going to finish reading the book?" And Bill replies, "I shall finish it by the weekend." She's impatient and he's gently teasing her by using "shall" to jokingly sound erudite while also implying that he might not finish.

    And the second question is to native English speakers: does "I shall" sound too official or out of fashion to your ears?

    If you were to use it instead of "I will" regardless of context it would just sound odd but also have overtones of being official or outdated.
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    In 1st person (I/ we), "shall" indicates a simple fact, wheras "will" indicates intention.

    I shall get wet (simple statement of fact).

    I will buy an umbrella (intention).

    In 2nd or 3rd persons (you/ they/ he/ etc)), it's the opposite way around (except that, because the intention is on the part of the speaker and not the listener, 'shall' effectively becomes an order).

    You will get wet (simple statement of fact).

    You shall buy an umbrella (intention, in this case phrased as an order).

    This is normal usage in BrE, moreso in written English than everyday speech. AmE has all but dropped 'shall' though.

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    An interesting (but obscure) use of shall is in so-called standardese. Quote from the ANSI Style Guide-sheet:


    2. Correct use of "shall, "should" and "must", i.e., correct form of requirements and recommendations:

    The correct verb form for indicating a requirement is "shall". The correct verb form for indicating a recommendation is "should". Universally accepted "standardese" does not recognize "must". Use "shall" for indicating a mandatory aspect or an aspect on which there is no option.
    This may lead to sentences like this one from the DICOM standard:

    The Control Character set C0 shall be invoked in CL and the Graphic Character sets G0 and G1 in GL and GR respectively. Only some Control Characters from the C0 set are used in DICOM (see Section
    6.1.3), and characters from the C1 set shall not be used.
    [/quote]

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