Will or Shall

Avoid This Mistake!

May 06 2022

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Many non-native users find 'Will' and 'Shall' confusing. In this post we aim to put the confusion to rest. Understanding this will/shall (yes, both can be used) help you in any English test you might have to take!

Avoid This Mistake! - First Academy

How do you guarantee a great score?

Whether it is a Band 8 in IELTS, or a 90 in PTE, or a B in OET - these seem like dream scores to many. However, achieving these scores is not very difficult. One way to improve English is to start by learning grammar. But the trouble is, even when we learn our native language, we rarely learn or even know grammar.

So, the easier way is, to continue using the language and while doing that avoid making the most common mistakes. In fact, avoiding common mistake is the best tip for a 7 in IELTS. Even when you look at the IELTS band descriptors or OET band descriptors, presenting language without mistakes is the easiest way to get there.

In this post, we are going to look at one such mistake.

Will or Shall

Difference between will and shall

We use ‘will’ for the following situations:

♦️ 1- to describe the future:
- We will be at the hotel until 8 p.m.
- The train will be late today because of the bad weather.

♦️ 2- to make a prediction:
- The world population will grow a lot in the next 50 years.
- Who do you think will win the tournament?
Facts – things that we know always happen:
- It’s wool. It will shrink if you wash it in hot water.

♦️ 3- for intentions and decision made at the moment of speaking:
- I'm busy right now – I will call you tomorrow.
- He’s over there. I will go and say ‘hello’ to him in a while.

Remember: We use will and be going to for decisions, intentions and plans. We use will when the decision is immediate and be going to when we have already made a plan.
I will be going to university next year. (plans have been made)
I will try to wake early tomorrow. (intention)

♦️ 4- to make a request (when you want somebody to do something for you):
- Will you bring some more water please?
- Will you be quiet please? I’m trying to make an important phone call.

In these specific instances you can also use, could you or could you please

♦️ 5- to make promises and offers:
- I will be there for you. Don’t worry.
- She will help you finish the work, don’t worry.

♦️ 6- to describe the consequence of a conditional phrase:
- If it rains, I will take my umbrella,
- Will she come to dinner if I invite her?

♦️ 7- willingness (especially with "I"):
- I will show you where to go.
- I will give you a lift to school.

♦️ 8- Inanimate objects (things)
"Will" may be used to refer to inanimate objects and how they respond to humans, most typically in the negative form won’t:
- The car won’t/will not start.
- The door won’t/will not open. It’s stuck.

We use ‘shall’ in the following events:

In the past, ‘shall’ was often used as an alternative to ‘will’, but in modern English we usually prefer ‘will’ for affirmative and negative sentences. However, we still use ‘shall’ to form questions with ‘I’ and ‘we’, especially in British English.

♦️ 1- to make offers using "I" and "we" (When you want to know if someone wants you to do something for them):
- Shall I make some lunch?
- Shall I water your plants while you’re away?

♦️2- to make suggestions using "I" and "we":
- Shall we go to the park later?
- Shall we have something to eat?

♦️3- to express formal obligations or commands:
- Applicants shall provide evidence of their qualifications.
- The accused shall appear in court again on 26th October.
Notice: "Shall" is sometimes used with second and third person pronouns to express a threat.
- You shall regret this.

♦️4- to make a promise:
- We shall do everything we can to solve the problem.
- He shan’t be long. Do have a seat while you wait.

♦️5- to describe the future VERY formally:
- We shall overcome this difficult moment.
- Mr Lopez shall begin his talk at 2:30pm.

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IELTS OET PTE
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