Use of Will and Shall, Difference Between Shall and Will, Definition and Example Sentences

Use of Will and Shall, Difference Between Shall and Will, Definition and Example Sentences


The Difference Between Shall and Will

There are several forms you may use to communicate about the future in English, including the present continuous, “be going to,” “will,” and “shall”. Because of their basic syntax, “will” and “shall” are the easiest to use, yet they may also be confusing. So, what’s the difference between the two, and when should you utilize which one? Continue reading to find out.


Use of Will

“Will” is the most fundamental and ubiquitous way of expressing the future. The structure of ‘will’ is simple since it is the same for all subjects and the verb does not need to be changed.


I will be (I’ll be)We will be (We’ll be)
You will be (you’ll be)You will be (You’ll be)
He/She/It will be (He/She/It’ll be)They will be (They’ll be)
I will not be (I won’t be)We will not be (we won’t be)
You will not be (You won’t be)You will not be (You won’t be)
He/She/It will not be (He/She/It won’t be)They will not be(They won’t be)
Will I be?Will we be?
Will you be?Will you be?
Will he/she/it be?Will they be?


We use ‘will’ for the following situations:

  1. To describe the future
  • The buses will be late today because of the bad weather.
  • How long will you stay in London?


  1. To make a prediction
  • The world population will grow a lot in the next 30 years.
  • My little brother doesn’t think he’ll pass the exam.


  1. To express a decision made now of speaking
  • I’ll have meat with rice, please.
  • Amy’s over there. I’ll just go and say ‘hello’ before she leaves.


  1. To make a request
  • Will you bring some more coffee, please?


  1. To make promises and offers
  • I’ll call you when I get home.


  1. To describe the consequence of a conditional phrase
  • If it rains, I’ll take my umbrella.

Uses of Shall

In the past,” shall’ was often used as a substitute for ‘will,’ and numerous examples of “shall’ can be found in well-known literary works. In modern English, however, we frequently use ‘will’ for both affirmative and negative statements. However, notably in British English, we still use “shall’ to make questions with ‘I’ and ‘we.’

The word “shall” is used in the following ways:

  1. To make offers using I/we
  • Shall I make some lunch?
  • Shall we help you with your homework?


  1. To make suggestions using I/we
  • What shall we do after the match?
  • Shall we go to the ice park later?


  1. To express formal obligations
  • Students shall not remove anything from the bags.
  • The tenant shall pay the agreed amount on the last day of every month.


  1. To make a promise
  • I shall never forget the chance you gave me.
  • We shall do everything we can to solve the problem for you guys.


  1. To describe the future formally
  • Smith shall begin her talk at 3:30 pm.


Will or Shall?

Use ‘will’ for affirmative and negative phrases regarding the future as a rule. You may also use ‘will’ to make requests. Use “shall’ in the inquiry form if you wish to make an offer or a recommendation with I/we. Use “shall’ for more formal phrases, especially when describing duties.