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 English Grammar for ESL learners 


Future and conditional forms of English verbs.


Shall and will are both modal verbs primarily used to express the future tense.

In informal English, the Simple Future is frequently conjugated entirely with the auxiliary'will', particularly in American English.

In more formal English, there is a rule which states that:
  • the auxiliary shall should be used in the first person, singular and plural (I/we)

  • the auxiliary will should be used in the second and third person, singular and plural,
    (you, he/she/it, they)

singular plural
First I shall We shall
Second you will you will
Third he/she/it will they will

However, shall currently tends to be falling out of use, but it continues to be used with I and we for offers and suggestions.
  • Shall I open the window?
  • Shall I order a taxi?
  • Shall we dance?

Should is the conditional form of shall.
Should is used :

◊ to give advice "You should take regular exercise."
◊ in hypothetical situations "Should you need any help, just call me."
◊ to give tentative opinions "I should think the cost will be about €100."

Would is the conditional form of will.
In informal English today, the conditional tense is usually conjugated entirely with would :

- If I had enough money, I would buy a new car.

see also:   should_ought-to

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Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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