Difference between Will and Shall

Will and shall are modal verbs. In modern English will and shall are helping verbs. We all know that the words ‘will’ and ‘shall’ are used in the future tense, to indicate something which has not taken place yet, but it is going to take place in the coming time. They are used with other verbs but lack conjugations of their own. Many people don’t understand where we can use these helping verbs correctly in the sentences. As a general rule, use ‘will’ for affirmative and negative sentences about the future. While ‘will‘ is mainly used when you give an order, suggest something, announce a decision or to express willingness/ability to do something.

On the other hand ‘shall‘ is used in place of will, when we initiate action and also to ask something, to know the wish of another individual. If you want to make an offer or suggestion with I/we, use ‘shall’ in the question form. When the sentence expresses strong future intention or assertion, such as a promise, determination, or command, we use will with the first person and shall with the second and third person. Shall is only used for future time reference with I and we, and is more formal than will.

Difference between Will and Shall


  • ‘Will’ is used in sentences to show desire, willingness, or to predict something or to talk about future events.
  • Will is a helping verb, which is used with the main verb to indicate future tense. The word will is used to represent future actions, to make predictions, to expect something or to show an intention.
  • It is mainly used to show intention, desire, capacity, or the habit of a person. It shows what is going to happen in future time or forecasting something.
  • Example: Will we get a cup of coffee?” involves speculation about future events, such as: “Do they serve coffee at this restaurant?” or “Is coffee included in the price of the meal?”


  • The word shall be used in place of will in specific circumstances. It is mainly used to make questions.
  • The word ‘shall’ can be used in place of the word ‘will’, if we are talking about a future plan, event, and expectation, with the first person, i.e. I and we. It is used instead of a will to indicate a desired or planned future action formally. It can also be used to ask a question to know the wish of another person.
  • Further, when we talk about strong intention, such as promise, instruction or obligation then also we can use shall instead of using will, with second, i.e. you and third person, i.e. he, she, it and they.
  • Example: Shall we get a cup of coffee?” means “Do you want to get a cup of coffee?”