There is the following rule, relating to talking about the future:

Prediction can be used as a way of giving orders - instead of telling somebody to do something, the speaker just say firmly that it will happen. This is common in military-style.

Let I'm explaining somebody the working principle of a something device. Does the rule applied to that case. That is, for example

A device shall reset every one hour.

In general, it would be good if you provide a bit more examples reflecting the rule.

  • According to my own experience, "Something shall do something or be something" is quite common in software specifications and requirements. It's a way to state some requirements firmly that those requirements must be implemented and/or will definitely happen. -- Another note, I think it's rare find "A device shall reset ..." in written documents, I believe that "A device shall be reset ..." is better. – Damkerng T. Jul 25 '14 at 15:44

Firstly, when you use the verb for the third person (he, she or it), the better choice is will and not shall. The explanation with example is here on the OxfordDictionaries.

This said, the answer is finished.

A device will reset hourly.

But it's good to know that a common military-style uses shall that way. Imagine an alien in a sci-fi movie confidently telling his army - "There shall not live any person on the earth peacefully. Go, destroy everything"

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  • 1
    It's a bit unclear. There is an example from technical documentation The value of the first parameter shall be interpreted as the requested size of the allocation. What mean of that shall is? Is it prediction as order? – Dmitrii Bundin Jul 25 '14 at 7:24
  • here, it's working as should/is This use is different from that military-style. – Maulik V Jul 25 '14 at 8:46

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