Is there really a difference between the use of will and shall?


Shall I open the door?

Will I open the door?

So far as I know , the first sentence means will you allow me to open the door?

The second question means Will I have the ability to open the door? ( it is not usually)used in the sense of seeking permission)

You shall do it(obligation)

You will do it ( prediction)

I shall do it((intention- formal)

I will do it( intention- more usual or common than I shall do it)

Do native speakers in all the countries follow the distinction between shall and will or does it change from country to country?

I am asking the question because some native speakers say that there is not much difference between will and shall and some say there is clearly a diference?

successive suspension

Posted 2019-10-20T08:36:32.147

Reputation: 3 051

Note, I wouldn't describe the first question in terms of permission. "Shall I open the door" is more like "Do you want me to open the door?" – Daniel Roseman – 2019-10-20T19:58:39.437



I believe you answered your question correctly. Shall is asking permission, usually used more formally. A better way of translating it is: "Do you want me to open the door?"

"Will I open the door?" Sounds here like a rhetorical question. But it all depends mostly on the context of usage.


Posted 2019-10-20T08:36:32.147

Reputation: 169

1Although I respect and apply this convention myself, most of my (reasonably well educated) native English-speaking acquaintance are not aware of it. Don't expect the average English speaker to follow it in conversation. Will we go to the movies tonight? is as likely as shall we go to the movies tonight?. – Ronald Sole – 2019-10-20T09:40:28.437

@ RonaldSole.I agree with you because I said that there was not much difference between shall and will with first person – successive suspension – 2019-10-21T14:11:39.503