Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Future: will and shall

from English Grammar Today

Will and shall: form

Will and shall are modal verbs. They are used with the base form of the main verb (They will go; I shall ask her). Shall is only used for future time reference with I and we, and is more formal than will.

singular and plural

+

I, we

she, he, it, you, they

(full form)

will or shall

will

work

I, she, he, it, you, we, they

(short form)

’ll

I, we

she, he, it, you, they

(full form)

will not or shall not

will not

work

I, we

she, he, it, you, they

(short form)

won’t or shan’t

won’t

? +

Will or Shall

Will

I, we

she, he, it, you, they

work?

? −

Won’t or Shan’t

Won’t

I, we

she, he, it, you, they

’ll: short forms of shall and will

Spoken English:

In speaking, shall and will are usually contracted to ’ll, especially after subject pronouns (I, we, you, they, she, he, it):

We’ll meet you outside the coffee shop. (more common in speaking than We will meet you outside the coffee shop)

Will and shall: uses

Predictions

We use will and shall to make predictions and to state facts about the future:

There will be strong winds tomorrow in the south of the country.

The year 2025 will be the four-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the university.

We shall need an extra bedroom when the new baby arrives.

Decisions and offers

Will and shall (usually in the short form ’ll) are used to announce decisions and to make offers:

[a salesperson in a clothes shop is talking to a customer]

A:

Which size do you want? Medium or large?

B:

I’ll have large. (decision)

Wait. I’ll open the door for you. (offer)

Not: Wait. I open the door for you.

I shall contact you again when I have further information.

Shall with I and we

We can use shall instead of will with I and we in statements. Its use is more formal:

We shall never forget the holiday we had in Vietnam.

When we use shall I and shall we in questions it is usually to make suggestions rather than to refer to future time:

It’s getting late. Shall we go home?

Shall I invite Louisa and Jill to the party?

(“Future: will and shall” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

glacial

made or left by a glacier

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More