Definition of shall modal verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



modal verb
; ʃəl
; strong form ʃæl
negative shall not short form shan't
; ʃænt
past tense should
; ʃʊd
negative should not short form shouldn't
; ˈʃʊdnt
(especially British English)
1 (becoming old-fashioned) used with I and we for talking about or predicting the futureThis time next week I shall be in Scotland.We shan't be gone long.I said that I should be pleased to help.2 used in questions with I and we for making offers or suggestions or asking adviceShall I send you the book?What shall we do this weekend?Let's look at it again, shall we?3 (old-fashioned or formal) used to show that you are determined, or to give an order or instructionHe is determined that you shall succeed.Candidates shall remain in their seats until all the papers have been collected.
Usage noteUsage note: modal verbsThe modal verbs are can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will and would. Dare, need, have to and used to also share some of the features of modal verbs.Modal verbs have only one form. They have no -ing or -ed forms and do not add -s to the 3rd person singular form:He can speak three languages. She will try and visit tomorrow.Modal verbs are followed by the infinitive of another verb without to. The exceptions are ought to, have to and used to:You must find a job. You ought to stop smoking. I used to smoke but I gave up two years ago.Questions are formed without do/does in the present, or did in the past:Can I invite Mary? Should I have invited Mary?Negative sentences are formed with not or the short form -n’t and do not use do/does or did.You will find more help with how to use modal verbs at the dictionary entries for each verb.Usage noteUsage note: shall / willIn modern English the traditional difference between shall and will has almost disappeared, and shall is not used very much at all, especially in North American English. Shall is now only used with I and we, and often sounds formal and old-fashioned. People are more likely to say:I’ll (= I will) be late and ‘You’ll (= you will) apologize immediately. ’ ‘ No I won’t!In British English shall is still used with I and we in questions or when you want to make a suggestion or an offer:What shall I wear to the party? Shall we order some coffee? I’ll drive, shall I? note at should