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English (was Re: High Rate of ballot rejections this year)



Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> 	Here is how I undesrtanfd the Shall/Will distinction:
> 
> 	Shall is used to express the simple future for first person I
> 	and we, as in "Shall we meet by the river?" Will would be used
> 	in the simple future for all other persons. Using will in the
> 	first person would express determination on the part of the
> 	speaker, as in "We will finish this project by tonight, by
> 	golly!" Using shall in second and third persons would indicate
> 	some kind of promise about the subject, as in "This shall be
> 	revealed to you in good time."

There are three views on the shall/will distinction:

1. "What distinction?" Pretty common for modern English speakers, I think.
2. 1913 Webster warns that "shall and will are often confounded by
   inaccurate speakers and writers"
3. Merriam-Webster unabridged has this to say:
     
     From the reams of pronouncements written about the distinction
     between shall and will--dating back as far as the 17th century--it
     is clear that the rules laid down have never very accurately
     reflected actual usage. The nationalistic statements of 18th and
     19th century British grammarians, who commonly cited the misuses of
     the Irish, the Scots, and occasionally the Americans, suggest that
     the traditional rules may have come closest to the usage of
     southern England. Some modern commentators believe that English
     usage is still the closest to the traditionally prescribed norms.
     Most modern commentators allow that will is more common in nearly
     all uses. 

Anyway, feel free to use "shall", it's probably no more incorrect than
my use of "yall".

-- 
see shy jo

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