Thu Jan 25 18:19:19 UTC 2001

As recently as 1933, Jespersen wrote (Essentials of English
Grammar 274-5):

"In the first person _will_ does not lend itself so well as in
the others to the expression of mere futurity, as _I will_ and _we
will_ are so extensively and so naturally put in requisition to
express volition, and as the other auxiliary, _shall_, has ome to
be much used with _i_ and )we_ to express mere futurity.  Still _I
(we) will_ is gaining ground in this function where strict
grammarians prefer _shall_, and this cannot be thought unnatural,
. . .
The Scotch and Irish, hence also the Scotch-Irish parts of
American, use constantly _I (we) will_."

Quirk et al. (CGEL) say (p. 230):

"_Shall_ is a substitue for the future use of _will_ in formal


It is only in . . . questions that _shall- cannot regularly be
replaced by _will_.  Note that (1) illustrates the exlcusive use
of _we_, while (2) illustrates the inclusive use, _ie_ the use of
_we_ which includes reference to the addressee(s).

(1)  Shall I/we deliver the goods to your home address?

(2) What shall we do this evening?  Shall we go to the theatre?"

Earlier they note that "will" occurs fourtime per thousand in
spoken BrE and "shall" three times per ten thousand in written
English.  I think the different comparative sets speak for

The style manuals PAT refers to may simply be restating the
prescriptive rule most of us learned at some time and never
applied to our speech or writing.


>>> P2052 at AOL.COM 01/25/01 12:51PM >>>
According to some grammar/style manuals, "shall" is used almost
with first person pronouns, "I" and "we".   PAT

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