0

As a non-native English speaker I face difficulty in understanding about shall vs will in interrogative sentences. can you please suggest which one is correct?

1. will i do?

2. shall i do?

Why we use only shall not will in the above sentence?

2
  • The idiom "will I do?" is common enough. We might say it before attending some function, when seeking confirmation that the manner in which one is dressed is appropriate or appealing. "Shall" is not possible here.
    – BillJ
    Nov 12 '20 at 7:48
  • Will you be quiet! is a common "imperative framed as a question", but Shall you be quiet! is an idiomatic non-starter. And Shall we eat out tonight? is a natural way to make a suggestion, whereas Will we eat out tonight? sounds more like a genuine enquiry (implying that the addressee is the one who controls such decisions, and has quite possibly already decided). Nov 12 '20 at 18:48
0

Will I do it?

This is, as you said, never used. Modal verb "will" represents a way of asking someone else to do something (for you) or offering them something or your willingness to do something for them.

will (REQUEST) - used to ask someone to do something; used as a polite way of inviting someone to do something, or of offering someone something Source

We do not use it in an interrogative sentence using the first person pronoun "I".

Shall I do it?

"Shall" is used used when referring to the future instead of "will," especially in questions/interrogative sentences including first person pronoun "I" or "we". Also "shall" has its fair share of uses when you want to make more formal comments and statements. It is also a form used to make requests, as your sentence indicates.

Note: In the past, as taught in schools, the future tense in English was formed with "shall" in the first person – I shall go, we shall go – and "will" in the second and third persons – you will go, Mary will go, they will go. In modern American English, "will" is commonly used in speech and writing for all three persons – I will go, etc. "Shall" is used mainly in formal situations with the first person – We shall be pleased to accept your invitation – and in legal documents. Source

The above sentences make sense when writing affirmative sentences. However, those traditions are not followed when you are constructing interrogatives.

[Minor edits: We capitalize "I" no matter where it appears in the sentence. Also, the first letter of the first word of the sentence is capitalized.]

2
  • The idiom "will I do?" is common enough. We might say it before attending some function, when seeking confirmation that the manner in which one is dressed is appropriate or appealing. "Shall" is not possible in such cases.
    – BillJ
    Nov 12 '20 at 7:49
  • Thank you @BillJ for the information. I have never heard of this usage (since I do not attend any functions at all), but I learned something new today. I am not including this piece in my answer since it is something unique, and I would rather it be in a comment. I hope you do not mind. Nov 12 '20 at 9:40

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.