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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > about the future    

about the future


about the future
What s the difference between :" Shall I ?" and " Will I ?"
Are both correct ?
Your answer will help me a lot .Thank you .

22 Oct 2014      

United Kingdom

According to the best (in my view) English usage dictionary around:
"the distinction is no longer observed" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage).

Interestingly, much of the current confusion concerning this seems to have stemmed from authorities like Fowler who had an unwavering belief that the British media was controlled by Scots who - like the their fellow Celts, the Irish - cared little for the distinction. 

22 Oct 2014     


Id have to agree with almaz... Although, if I had to make a distinction, d say "Shall I" is a bit more formally polite, but not a lot.

22 Oct 2014     


I d say the main difference is that you use "Shall I...?" to offer yourself to do sth.

Imagine a cvery hot classroom with 50 sweating children...one of them says "Shall I open the window"? ..."Yes, please!" says the teacher =)

and "shall we.." is an invitation...similar to let s ..."shall we dance?" = "Let`s dance?" although the former is rather formal and old-fashioned =)

a hug from Chile

22 Oct 2014     

United States

In the US, we only use "Shall I" to begin a suggestion or offer, meaning "Would you like me to...":
It s a little stuffy in here. Shall I open a window?
You look cold. Shall I get you a blanket?
"Will I" is used for wishful thinking:
Will I ever lose this weight?
Will I win the tournament?

22 Oct 2014     


oops! sorry...you were talking about the future! =S
well, then they mean the same, but shall is very formal and old-fashioned

22 Oct 2014     

United States

https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-modals_shall-will.htm has some information.

23 Oct 2014     

United Kingdom

re English Club s "tip":

I really wouldn t trust anyone who not only doesn t know what a conjugation is, but seems to think that shall is an inflected form of will ("there are two conjugations for the verb will"). Ermm

Incidentally, this is what the Plain Language guidelines in the US have to say about using shall in bureaucratic/legal documents:

24 Oct 2014