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Will vs. Shall: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sara Rehman || By Sumera Saeed || Published on November 25, 2023
"Will" typically expresses future actions or intentions, while "shall" is more formal and often implies obligation or command.

Key Differences

"Will" is commonly used to indicate future events or actions based on the speaker's decision or intention. In contrast, "shall" is used, especially in formal contexts, to express a strong assertion or intention, often relating to rules or laws.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
In everyday speech, "will" is the preferred choice to talk about the future. "Shall," however, is more formal and often found in legal or official documents to express mandatory actions or obligations.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
"Will" can also express a promise or a voluntary action, showing the willingness or determination of the speaker. "Shall" is used in questions to offer or seek suggestions or instructions, particularly in British English.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023
The use of "will" often reflects personal decisions or predictions. On the other hand, "shall" is used in a more impersonal sense, conveying necessity or inevitability, especially in legal contexts.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023
"Will" is more subjective, reflecting the speaker's perspective, while "shall" has an objective tone, implying a sense of duty or requirement that is often beyond the speaker's personal preference.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Usage

Indicates future actions or intentions.
Implies obligation or command.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Formality

Common in everyday speech.
More formal, used in legal or official texts.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Expression

Shows willingness, determination, or promise.
Offers or seeks suggestions, instructions.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Context

Personal decisions, predictions.
Impersonal, necessity, inevitability.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023

Tone

Subjective, speaker's perspective.
Objective, duty or requirement oriented.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
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Will and Shall Definitions

Will

Will indicates future actions or intentions.
I will go to the store later.
Janet White
Nov 14, 2023

Shall

Shall denotes a strong assertion or intention in formal contexts.
The company shall deliver the goods on time.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 14, 2023

Will

Will expresses a decision made at the moment of speaking.
I will have coffee, please.
Harlon Moss
Nov 14, 2023

Shall

Shall is used in legal documents for mandatory actions.
The tenant shall pay the rent monthly.
Janet White
Nov 14, 2023

Will

Will is used in predictions.
It will rain tonight.
Sara Rehman
Nov 14, 2023

Shall

Shall implies a formal obligation or requirement.
You shall abide by the rules.
Sara Rehman
Nov 14, 2023

Will

Will reflects a habitual action in the future.
I will usually visit my grandparents on Sundays.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

Shall

Shall is used in formal questions to offer or seek advice.
Shall we proceed with the plan?
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

Will

Will shows determination or promise.
I will finish this project by tomorrow.
Harlon Moss
Nov 14, 2023

Shall

Shall suggests a formal future arrangement.
The meeting shall take place next week.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

Will

The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action
Championed freedom of will against a doctrine of predetermination.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Shall

Used before a verb to indicate the simple future tense in the first person singular or plural.
I shall sing in the choir tomorrow.
I hope that we shall win the game.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Will

Diligent purposefulness; determination
An athlete with the will to win.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Shall

Used similarly to indicate determination or obligation in the second and third persons singular or plural.
(determination): You shall go to the ball!
(obligation): Citizens shall provide proof of identity.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Will

Self-control; self-discipline
Lacked the will to overcome the addiction.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Shall

Used in questions with the first person singular or plural to suggest a possible future action.
Shall I help you with that?
Shall we go out later?
Let us examine that, shall we?
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Shall

(obsolete) To owe.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Shall

To owe; to be under obligation for.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

Shall

To be obliged; must.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 13, 2023

FAQs

Is "will" more common than "shall"?

Yes, "will" is more commonly used than "shall" in everyday English.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Is "shall" often used in legal contexts?

Yes, "shall" is frequently used in legal documents to express obligations.
Sara Rehman
Nov 25, 2023

Can "will" express a promise?

Yes, "will" can be used to make promises or commitments.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can "will" be used for spontaneous decisions?

Yes, "will" is often used for decisions made at the moment of speaking.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can "will" be used in questions?

Yes, but it's less common and more informal than using "shall" in questions.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

Is "shall" common in American English?

"Shall" is less common in American English and is more formal or legalistic.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

Is "shall" more formal than "will"?

Yes, "shall" is generally more formal and authoritative than "will".
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Does "shall" imply a stronger sense of duty than "will"?

Yes, "shall" carries a stronger implication of duty or requirement.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

Does "will" have different forms for different subjects?

No, "will" remains the same for all subjects.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Can "shall" be replaced by "will" in legal documents?

It's not recommended as "shall" has a specific legal implication of obligation.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Is "shall" used to seek advice?

Yes, especially in questions, "shall" is used to seek advice or opinions.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Is "shall" used in offers or suggestions?

Yes, especially in British English, "shall" is used in questions to offer or suggest.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Can "will" be used for habitual actions in the future?

Yes, "will" can express habitual actions or routines in the future.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Does "shall" have a future tense aspect?

Yes, but it's more about obligation or formality than simple future tense.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Is "shall" used in commands?

Yes, "shall" can be used in formal commands or instructions.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023

Is "shall" used in everyday conversation?

It's less common in casual conversation and more used in formal or legal contexts.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023

Is "will" used in predictions about the future?

Yes, "will" is commonly used for making predictions.
Janet White
Nov 25, 2023

Can "will" be used in conditional sentences?

Yes, "will" is commonly used in the main clause of conditional sentences.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 25, 2023

Can "will" be used to express a habit?

Yes, "will" can describe a future habit or routine.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can "will" indicate willingness?

Yes, "will" can show a person's willingness to do something.
Harlon Moss
Nov 25, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.

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