shall - definition and synonyms

modal verb strong

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Shall is usually followed by an infinitive without ‘to’: I shall explain everything later. Sometimes it is used without a following infinitive: I have never visited America and probably never shall.
Shall does not change its form, so the third person singular form does not end in ‘-s’: The President shall appoint all ambassadors with the consent of the Senate.
Questions and negatives are formed without ‘do’: Shall I come with you?
The negative form shall not can be shortened in conversation or informal writing to shan’t.
Shall has no participles and no infinitive form. Shall can be used for forming the future tense of another verb when the subject is ‘I’ or ‘we’, but it does not have a future tense of its own: We shall see you tomorrow.
Should can sometimes be used as the past tense of shall, for example, in indirect speech introduced by a verb in the past tense: I hoped that I should not need to defend myself.
Shall have followed by a past participle forms the future perfect tense and shows that an action will be completed before a particular time in the future: We shall have completed the first section by Monday.
  1. 1
    British used for saying what you intend to do in the future or what situation you expect to be in
    I/we shall:

    I shall be busy all day tomorrow.

    If he gets violent, I shall phone the police.

    We shan’t be able to stay with you very long.

    I think I shall have to postpone our little chat.

    Over the next ten years we shall spend £25 billion on the health service.

    shall have:

    By nightfall we shall have achieved our objectives.

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  2. 2
    used in questions
    1. a.
      used for offering help, suggesting something, or asking someone what they would like you to do
      shall I/we...?:

      Shall we have some lunch?

      Shall I help you with your luggage?

      Where shall we meet?

    2. b.
      used for asking for advice when you cannot decide what to do
      what shall I/we...?:

      What shall we do? We can’t stay here all night.

      how shall I/we...?:

      How shall we manage while you are away?

  3. 3
    formal used for emphasizing that you are determined that something will definitely happen

    You shall receive all the money that is owed to you.

    We will go to a quiet place and no one shall disturb us.

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  4. 4
    legal used in instructions and legal documents for saying that something must be done

    The Court shall have authority to demand the presence of witnesses.

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