I shall be 17

P2052 at AOL.COM P2052 at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 13 04:04:27 UTC 2001

For me, "I shall be 17" is a definite no-no.  I sense that the modal
auxiliary  + linking verb pattern, "shall be," involves a small degree, or
low level,  of agency, volitionality, and individuation (specifically,
definiteness).  If this is true, then "[BE] 17" (or [BE] + any age, for that
matter) would be unacceptable since neither agency nor volitionality  nor
individuation is considered to be involved in the aging process, or the
coming of age.  The "will be" + AGE" pattern, involves a slightly higher
level of agency and  volitionality; moreover, it has a much higher level of
definiteness. Thus, whereas "I shall be 17," indicates mere acceptance of the
idea, "I will be 17" implies an embracing of the same.    Compare also the
                         A.  "I shall behold His face"
                         B.  "I will behold His face."
I perceive the difference between the two as one of seeing (A) and looking
Likewise, consider these:
                               A. I shall be with Him.
                               B. I will be with Him.
In A, the state of "being with Him" is one that is probably not inspired or
initiated by the subject but, rather, by some external force.   In B, the
subject seems to have desire or determination and, thus, would be more apt to
take some action to ensure that the anticipated state occurs.

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