1. Where shall we go?
  2. Where should we go?

  3. Shall we eat outside?

  4. Should we eat outside?

Which is correct and why? Thank you in advance.

  • 4
    I think you'll find this question helpful.
    – Catija
    Sep 1, 2015 at 7:37
  • 'should' has a flair of something 'mandatory' or at least it has some authoritative remark. Shall is polite as compared to it.
    – Maulik V
    Sep 1, 2015 at 9:55
  • In anything but the most formal context, modern usage is always 'should'. There may be a difference, but it it generally strange to use the word shall.
    – Dan
    Sep 1, 2015 at 23:51

2 Answers 2


Though they look similar, they are different.

Where shall we go?

This is more about asking for a suggestion or just about the event in the future. We could rephrase it as

Where will we go?

Where are we going?


Where should we go?

is more about an obligation or something that is set to be some way. We could rephrase it as

Where do we have to go?

Where must we go?

Where are we supposed to go?


I think the use of "should" in such questions is just a matter of politeness. With "shall" such questions are on a normal level, with "should" they are a bit more polite. But the use of "should" can express nuances that can't be seen from a single sentence.

"Where should we go?" might express a desperate situation where the person asking has absolutely no idea where they might find help.

Such a question might also express that the person asking is eager to hear suggestions and would accept any suggestion.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .