We all use ‘shall’ around the office. It’s the right word, and we’re a bunch of language nerds. Far be it from us to dumb down our language, especially when there are no plebes around to hear us. :slight_smile:

I have a fondness for “shall” and “shan’t” and use them whenever I can. Also “ought.” (The verb, not as a colloquialism for zero.) It’s fun to say “Shall we?” or “Ought I?”

You bet. I use hung instead of hanged too.

I use “shall” frequently and occasionally “shan’t”. Similar to Hal, I balance it by saying stuff like “Aw hell to the no, ho!” also.

“Shall” and “Shan’t” are part of my daily vocabulary. They’re absolutely essential!

Hehe. My particular foil for my fondness for “shall” and “shan’t” is an almost childlike glee in the -izzle suffix.

Which often results in a butt-swatting from hubby when I’ve called him my husbnizzle for shizzle my dizzle. Izzle.

It’s useful as a legal term - “should” or “could” or “would” just doesn’t cover all situations close enough.

“Shall” is commonly used in court orders, e.g. “The Court orders that the Defendant Bodsworthy shall pay to the Plaintiff Higglesgottom the sum of $2.98 forthwith.” In that sense, “shall” is more emphatic than “will”.

In general, the less emphatic usage is I shall, you will, he will, we shall, you will, they will, and the more emphatic usage is I will, you shall, he shall, we will, you shall, they shall.

I use shall practically every day. Shant, not so much.

I agree with Frank about not lowering a language gratuitously by surveying the most common usage.

As for a Lexus Search, is that where I drive around in a Lexus with a parabolic microphone and record people’s use or lack thereof of the word “shall”? Or are we talking about LexisNexis? :slight_smile:

I don’t see how common usage dictates the original meaning or utility of a word. I concede that should/must/will appear to be more comfortable in routine usage, but that does not remove shall from the toolbox.

Yes indeed. The NEC (National Electrical Code) emphasizes the distiction explicitly. (At least the last time I read it) May - you have a choice. Should - it is recommended. **Shall ** - it is the only way to do it.

Heck yes. All the time.

Americans most certainly use it far less than Brits…I think the most I use the word is when saying, “Shall we?” when suggesting something illicit or out of the ordinary. Otherwise, it is usually somewhat pretentious in American English.

BTW, I recently saw the film Pirates of the Caribbean and heard the phrase, “Batten down the hatches.” and realized I have never used the word “batten” in my life, other than with hatches, which seldom comes up in conversations in Las Vegas.

I use “shall” pretty often, mostly in “Shall I…?” or “Shall we…?” constructions. “Shan’t” I say less often, but it doesn’t strike me as archaic at all.

A question for those who don’t use it: what word do you use instead, e.g. in the sentence “Shall I open the window?”?

“Will I open the window?” sounds like either a challenge to guess my next move, or a sentence spoken by a foreigner with a shaky grasp of English grammar. “Should I open the window?” sounds like a hypothetical question, with no sense of intent. Neither sounds quite right to me.

I searched the boards for use of this term, got zero hits and the following message:

I know it’s not too short or too long, as a five letter word will normally return results. Yup, must be too common. Case closed.

I’ve been told that it used to be low-class to say “I will” as opposed to “I shall”. I don’t know if this is true or not.

AFAIK it’s not about “class”, it’s about subtly different meanings. As my dictionary says: “The usual rule given for the use of shall and will is that where the meaning is one of simple futurity, shall is used for the first person of the verb and will for the second and third: I shall go tomorrow; they will be there now. Where the meaning involves command, obligation or determination, the postions are reversed: It shall be done; I will definitely go.”

Yep, shall and (less frequently) shan’t are in my normal vocab.

I can’t think of an example for the last time I used shan’t but I use shall pretty frequently.

Shall is far from obsolete.

We engineers use these words in the same manner for construction specifications. The most common word in a set of specs is probably the word “shall.” It shows up in just about every sentence.