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The sentence I created to end a sports article looks like this:

This team seems to be determined to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 1998 World Cup champion title with another conquer on Saturday shall their enemy be England or Croatia

I am to express here that the team is ready to put up the fight it doesn't matter if their enemy will be England or Croatia.

Is the usage of "shall" correct there?

Thank you!

  • "with another conquer" is not correct - conquer is a verb, not a noun. You want to say something like "with another victory" or "with another win". – stangdon Jul 13 '18 at 19:47
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    "England or Croatia"... bit late for that :-( – James K Jul 13 '18 at 20:19
  • "Enemy" is a bit strong, even for the World Cup. France isn't facing Germany, after all. I would use "opponent", or perhaps "adversary". – Andrew Jul 13 '18 at 22:41
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No, that's not a correct use of shall.

Shall is used to describe future plans, intentions, or instructions. For example, General Douglas MacArthur said

We shall land at Inchon

to express his determination to land on Inchon island in Korea.

But in your example, you're not using it to describe a future plan or intention, you're describing a set of options.


You might be thinking of the word should; you could phrase your sentence like

...should their enemy be England or Croatia.

But that's not really correct either, because should means something like "if". If I read this sentence, I would think "The team will win if the enemy is England or Croatia, but not if it's any other country."


A slightly formal but correct phrasing for what you are trying to say might be

...whether their enemy be England or Croatia.

This is an example of the subjunctive, which is why be is used.

A more informal way to put it would be

...whether their enemy is England or Croatia.

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    Right. As written the sentence is confusing ... and, as it turns out, outdated since we know which of England and Croatia they will face. Whether is the better choice. You could use "shall" to say something like, "France shall emerge victorious" – Andrew Jul 13 '18 at 22:38
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Since it's expressing a condition, it should be in the subjunctive:

should their enemy be England or Croatia

However, this implies that what you are saying is conditioned on their enemy being England or Croatia, that there is some third option that would make what you are saying false. Also, I would use "opponent" rather than "enemy", and "conquest" rather than "conquest" ("conquer" is a verb). A better phrasing would be:

This team seems to be determined to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 1998 World Cup champion title with another conquest on Saturday, whether their opponent be England or Croatia.

Anther option is

This team seems to be determined to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 1998 World Cup champion title with another conquest on Saturday, regardless of whether their opponent is England or Croatia.

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