0

Can we say

Shall he/she attend?

Is it possible to make a question with shall?

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jul 31 '17 at 13:27

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • In statements, using (somewhat dated/formal/literary) shall instead of the more common will usually conveys emphasis (thus You shall go to the ball is more emphatic that You will go to the ball. In questions, we usually use will for a simple enquiry (Will we go out tonight?), where Shall we go out tonight? is more of a suggestion (often, regarding some suggested course of action the speaker is in favour of adopting). – FumbleFingers Jul 31 '17 at 14:06
0

I think that today it is more common to use will to make a question about the future. (Parrott's book cited below states this).

Shall he /she attend? is ok but Will he attend? is more common.

EDIT We can use shall with other pronouns and names and with other appropriate verbs. Some more examples are shown below:

Shall I/she/he/we/they/It/John/ attend/go/come/arrive?

Shall ,a modal auxiliary verb, is more commonly used in the following ways:

1. To offer your help.

e.g. Shall I open the door for you?

2.When making a suggestion.

e.g. Shall we go out for lunch together?

3.Asking for instructions

e.g. What shall we do now?

Source: Practical English usage by Michael Swan & Grammar for English Language Teachers. By Martin Parrott.

  • So can i use Shall she attend? If you answer this, It'd be great. Thanks again!.. – Odin Jul 31 '17 at 21:12
  • Yes, you can say Shall he attend (as I said above) but it is less common to ask it this way. The use of Will is more commonly used. – user242899 Jul 31 '17 at 22:25
  • I just didn't get Can i use shall with all pronouns and verbs. As i mean Shall he/she/it/they/you + verb? – Odin Aug 1 '17 at 10:28
  • You can use it with subject pronouns like I he ,she we, they etc or with names. It also works with most verbs. However, although it is technically correct I would personally use Will which is more modern usage and sounds less formal in my opinion. – user242899 Aug 1 '17 at 15:41
  • Nice!, Can you add this into your answer? It'd be great. – Odin Aug 1 '17 at 15:56
2

Shall he attend? to me sounds very old-fashioned and formal, and means something like "Is it your intention that he should attend?" It's not just about a future event, but about somebody's intention for the future.

On the other hand, Shall I attend? is perfectly normal to me, but it is asking for permission or guidance, not for a prediction.

Edit: Some English dialects don't use shall at all; some (like mine, from England) use shall freely for first person subjects ("I" and "we"). For other persons, it is rare, and usually carries a sense of command or permission.

  • 'Should he attend?' is the 3rd-person equivalent of the guidance-seeking sense. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 31 '17 at 14:31
  • So can't i use? My friends who lives in USA told me that it's possible. – Odin Jul 31 '17 at 14:41
  • So I wanna use that for He/She/They/You for making questions. – Odin Jul 31 '17 at 14:43
  • Shall I open the window? Shall I leave now? It is used when you ask someone if he or she wants you to do something for him or her. Or suggestions as stated by FF above. I would not say asking permission necessarily. Shall I attend? for example, could be offering to attend in place of someone else. Shall is also used to emphasize something: You shall go at once. (mostly BrE but also AmE educated speech). – Lambie Jul 31 '17 at 16:35
  • Can someone answer my question? – Odin Jul 31 '17 at 21:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.