Shall definition

shăl
Frequency:
Used in the statement of laws or regulations.

The fine shall not exceed $200

verb
37
11
Used in the first person to indicate simple future time.

I shall probably go tomorrow.

verb
33
12
Used in questions about what to do.

Shall I invite them?

verb
25
10
Used before a verb in the infinitive to show:
  • Something that will take place or exist in the future.
    We shall arrive tomorrow.
  • An order, promise, requirement, or obligation.
    You shall leave now. He shall answer for his misdeeds. The penalty shall not exceed two years in prison.
  • The will to do something or have something take place.
    I shall go out if I feel like it.
  • Something that is inevitable.
    That day shall come.
verb
12
7
Used in the second or third person, esp. in formal speech or writing, to express determination, compulsion, obligation, or necessity.

You shall have to wait your turn.

verb
12
7
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To be able to.
verb
4
5
To have to; must.
verb
3
5
Used in formal conditional subordinate clauses.

If any man shall hear, let him remember.

verb
5
8
Shall is another way of saying should.

An example of shall is someone saying they're are expected to do something; "You shall go to school."

An example of shall is someone saying they will go to the beach if it's sunny outside; "I shall go to the beach if it's sunny outside."

verb
1
4
(modal auxiliary verb, defective) Used before a verb to indicate the simple future tense, particularly in the first person singular or plural.

I shall sing in the choir tomorrow.

verb
1
4
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Used similarly to indicate determination or obligation, particularly in the second and third persons singular and plural.

(determination): You shall go to the ball!

(obligation): Citizens shall provide proof of identity.

verb
0
3
Used in questions to suggest a possible future action.

Shall we go out later?

verb
1
5

Origin of shall

  • Middle English schal from Old English sceal skel-2 in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English schal (first and third person singular form of schulen), from Old English sceal (first and third person singular of sculan (“to be obligated or obliged to, shall, must, owe, ought to"), from Proto-Germanic *skulanÄ…, from Proto-Indo-European *skal- (“to owe, be under obligation"), *(s)kel-. Cognate with Scots sall, sal (“shall"), Dutch zal ("shall"; from zullen), German soll ("ought to"; from sollen), Danish skall ("shall"; from skulle). Related to shild.

    From Wiktionary