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Will and Shall

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Black_Knight
Junior Member
since 09-04-2003
Posts 23
England


0 posted 09-08-2003 09:59 PM       View Profile for Black_Knight   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Black_Knight

This is one of the myriad small things I learnt about my language that pleased me.

Often, the words 'will' and 'shall' are used interchangeably, but their meanings are actually entirely different.

"If you let go, I shall drown!"

This is telling us that the hold we have is preventing drowning.

"If you let go, I will drown"

This, perhaps surprisingly, is a threat.  That is because the word 'will' is connected to the words 'willful' and 'will-power' and phrases such as 'with a will'.  It implies purpose.

The word 'shall' does not imply purpose.  The same difference also applies to the words 'would' and 'should'.

"I would love you forever" is a statement of purpose, and thus different to "I should love you forever".

I hope that's of interest to some, as it was to me.  It is always a delight to learn a new facet to language, and to realise that it has more powers, even in the simplest of things, than we had perhaps ever realised.

[This message has been edited by Black_Knight (09-08-2003 09:59 PM).]

Sunshine
Administrator
Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart


1 posted 09-08-2003 10:14 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Absolutely of interest.  Thank you!
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


2 posted 09-09-2003 10:51 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Indeed; and it is helpful if you ever have confusion just to think of them this way:

Will: Wish

Shall: Must


As you will, I shall.

As you would, I should.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (09-09-2003 10:52 PM).]

Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


3 posted 09-30-2003 06:51 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Another point about the difference between  shall and will is that very oft shall is used to express humble servitude and will superiority and what that serves.  A slavish person shall serve his master's will.

"Slave, do my will and kiss my feet"

"Master, I shall as 'twere a treat"

[This message has been edited by Essorant (10-01-2003 12:59 PM).]

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