shall Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “shall” in the English Dictionary

"shall" in British English

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shallmodal verb

uk   strong /ʃæl/ weak /ʃəl/  us   /ʃæl/  /ʃəl/
  • shall modal verb (FUTURE)

B1 old-fashioned used instead of "will" when the subject is "I" or "we": If you do that one more time, I shall be very angry. I shall never forget you. I'm afraid I shall not/shan't be able to come to your party.formal I shall look forward to meeting you next week. So we'll see you at the weekend, shall we (= is that right)? We shall (= intend to) let you know as soon as there's any news.

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  • shall modal verb (SUGGEST)

A2 formal in US used, with "I" or "we", to make a suggestion: "I'm cold." "Shall I close this window?" Shall we go out for dinner tonight? Shall I call him tomorrow?

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  • shall modal verb (CERTAINLY WILL)

formal or old-fashioned used to say that something certainly will or must happen, or that you are determined that something will happen: Don't worry, I shall be there to meet the train. The school rules state that no child shall be allowed out of the school during the day, unless accompanied by an adult. You shall go to the ball, Cinderella.

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  • Don't worry - I shall make sure he comes!
  • I shall make sure she knows.
  • Very well then, I shall do it myself!
  • If he won't do it, I shall do it and then there'll be trouble!
  • I shall speak to her later.
(Definition of shall from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"shall" in American English

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shallmodal verb

 us   /ʃæl, ʃəl/ fml
used when referring to the future instead of "will," esp. in questions: Shall we go? law Nothing in this letter shall be construed as a license to use our property. Note: In the past, as taught in schools, the future tense in English was formed with "shall" in the first person – I shall go, we shall go – and "will" in the second and third persons – you will go, Mary will go, they will go. In modern American English, "will" is commonly used in speech and writing for all three persons – I will go, etc. "Shall" is used mainly in formal situations with the first person – We shall be pleased to accept your invitation – and in legal documents.
(Definition of shall from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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