Unit 11.2

Questions with Shall…?

Syntax

Shall is a modal verb used in question form to ask for instructions or for formulating requests in a polite way.

We form questions using shall by using this structure:
Shall + subject* + verb + …?

*It is used only in the first person singular and plural.

Asking for instructions

  • My guests are vegetarians, what shall I cook?
  • I’m allergic to onion so what shall I do if I accidentally eat some?
  • What shall we do if the baby doesn’t drink the milk?

Make suggestions

  • Shall I ask for the bill now?
  • Shall I book a table?
  • Shall we go to an Italian restaurant?

Offer services

  • Shall I bring you an aperitif?
  • Shall I bring you a glass?
  • Shall we do it for you?

We use shall in the first person singular and plural to ask questions or make requests in a more polite way. We can also use it to:

  • Ask for instructions;
  • Make suggestions;
  • Offer services.

The modal verb shall is used to ask for services, suggestions and instructions. When we use it, we start with shall followed by the subject and a verb (the sentence ends with a question mark).

For example:
— “Shall we help them?” = Shall is considered to be more formal and it is not commonly used.
♦ “Will we help them?” = Will is less formal and it is more commonly used.

NOTE: Will and shall have the same meaning, but shall is used only in the first person singular and plural.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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