Definitions of shall

  1. be going to; indicates futurity
  2. To owe; to be under obligation for.
  3. To be obliged; must.
  4. As an auxiliary, shall indicates a duty or necessity whose obligation is derived from the person speaking; as, you shall go; he shall go; that is, I order or promise your going. It thus ordinarily expresses, in the second and third persons, a command, a threat, or a promise. If the auxillary be emphasized, the command is made more imperative, the promise or that more positive and sure. It is also employed in the language of prophecy; as, " the day shall come when... , " since a promise or threat and an authoritative prophecy nearly coincide in significance. In shall with the first person, the necessity of the action is sometimes implied as residing elsewhere than in the speaker; as, I shall suffer; we shall see; and there is always a less distinct and positive assertion of his volition than is indicated by will. " I shall go" implies nearly a simple futurity; more exactly, a foretelling or an expectation of my going, in which, naturally enough, a certain degree of plan or intention may be included; emphasize the shall, and the event is described as certain to occur, and the expression approximates in meaning to our emphatic " I will go." In a question, the relation of speaker and source of obligation is of course transferred to the person addressed; as, " Shall you go?" ( answer, " I shall go"); " Shall he go?" i. e., " Do you require or promise his going?" ( answer, " He shall go".) The same relation is transferred to either second or third person in such phrases as " You say, or think, you shall go;" " He says, or thinks, he shall go." After a conditional conjunction ( as if, whether) shall is used in all persons to express futurity simply; as, if I, you, or he shall say they are right. Should is everywhere used in the same connection and the same senses as shall, as its imperfect. It also expresses duty or moral obligation; as, he should do it whether he will or not. In the early English, and hence in our English Bible, shall is the auxiliary mainly used, in all the persons, to express simple futurity. ( Cf. Will, v. t.) Shall may be used elliptically; thus, with an adverb or other word expressive of motion go may be omitted.
  5. Auxiliary having no participles, imperative, or infinitive, and followed by the infinitive without to; used, together with will, to form the simple future tense: thus, to express simple futurity, singular, first person, I shall; second person, you will; third person, he will; plural, first person, we shall; second person, you will; third person, they will; used to express determination in an arrangement exactly the opposite: used in a question, according to the form expected in the answer; as, shall I? will you? etc.
  6. Should.
  7. Shall and will are often confounded by inaccurate speakers or writers, and even writers such as Addison sometimes make a slip. In quoting the following lines from a song in Sir George Etherege's " She Would if she Could" ( 1704), Mr. R. Grant White says. " I do not know in English literature another passage in which the distinction between shall and will and would and should is at once so elegantly, so variously, so precisely, and so compactly illustrated.
  8. Auxiliary verb used in forming the future tense.
  9. Am to, or are to.
  10. Art to, is to, or are to. Shall and will, as auxiliaries expressing simple futurity, are used as follows; I shall; thou will; he will; we shall; you will; they will. As auxiliaries expressing a promise, determination, command, or permission, their use is precisely the opposite, viz.: I will; thou shalt; he shall; we will; you shall; they shall.
  11. Must; ought; a defective verb, usually denoting promise, obligation, determination, or command.
  12. An auxiliary and defective verb; one of the two signs employed to express futurity, will being the other; in the first person shall simply foretells or declares; in the second person and third person it promises or expresses determination; interrogatively, shall either asks for permission or for direction; shall, like will, apart from its othersenses, uniformly denotes futurity.

Usage examples for shall

  1. But how shall I do it? – Moral by Ludwig Thoma
  2. Then you shall come with us. – The Boy Allies with Uncle Sams Cruisers by Ensign Robert L. Drake
  3. I shall look them over. – Roughing it De Luxe by Irvin S. Cobb
  4. Why, I shall die! – Queen Hildegarde by Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards
  5. Shall I never see him again? – Norston's Rest by Ann S. Stephens
  6. But, say, what shall I call you?" – If Any Man Sin by H. A. Cody
  7. I shall come right again. – The Allen House or Twenty Years Ago and Now by T. S. Arthur
  8. You shall hear them then.... – A Royal Prisoner by Pierre Souvestre Marcel Allain
  9. I shall never be well, my child. – A Letter of Credit by Susan Warner
  10. Shall I tell him I know who it is? – Questionable Shapes by William Dean Howells
  11. I shall believe I do. – Love Under Fire by Randall Parrish
  12. This I shall not do. – The Virgin of the Sun by H. R. Haggard
  13. Why, I shall never know. – We Three by Gouverneur Morris
  14. Shall I tell you what he said? – The Complete Project Gutenberg Works of George Meredith by George Meredith
  15. Shall we do it?" – The Lone Ranche by Captain Mayne Reid
  16. And so shall we be ever with the Lord. – My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year by John Henry Jowett
  17. " Then you shall go," said the doctor. – Middy and Ensign by G. Manville Fenn
  18. I tell you it shall be so!... – Where the Pavement Ends by John Russell
  19. " But I shall know, Father. – The Wrong Twin by Harry Leon Wilson
  20. I shall never understand anything about them. – Jeremy by Hugh Walpole