Will Be vs Shall Be: Difference and Comparison

A general form of an English sentence contains a subject and a verb. A verb denotes action, which has two forms: the main verb and the auxiliary verb.

Auxiliary or helping verbs are essential in expressing different attitudes like possibilities, certainty, ability, inference, intentions, etc.

They Shall be and Will be used in the future continuous tense. The auxiliary verbs “Will be” and “Shall be” use interchangeably but slightly.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Will be” denotes a future action that is not a part of any plan, while “shall be” indicates an action that is part of a pre-determined plan or agreement.
  2. “Will be” is used to express prediction, intention or willingness, while “shall be” is used to express a mandatory or authoritative statement.
  3. “Will be” is commonly used in American English, while “shall be” is more commonly used in British English and is considered more formal.

Will Be vs Shall Be

When referring to future events for which a definite time is not known, the phrase “will be” is used. It serves as an aid in designating the simple future tense.

Will Be vs Shall Be
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‘Will’ is used in English sentences, whereas ‘shall’ is used in literary works, reports, and documents.

Will and shall are used interchangeably in the future tense. The future tense is used to express the work or intentions that will be fulfilled in the upcoming future.

Though it may or may not be fulfilled. The structure of the future continuous tense is as

Subject + shall/ will + be + ing form (main verb) -affirmative sentence

Subject + shall/will + not + be + ing form (main verb) – negative sentence

Shall/ will+ subject + be+ main verb + object? – Interrogative sentence

Shall/ will + subject + not+ be+ main verb + object? –  negative Interrogative sentence

The future continuous tense expresses the actions progressing at a particular time.

Usually, “Shall” is used with only I and We, whereas “Will” is used with all other subjects. The “shall be” and “Will be” are used to form positive, negative, and interrogative sentences.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWill BeShall Be
TenseWill be is used in future continuous tense to express probability and strong willingness.Shall be is also used in future continuous tense to express futurity, suggestion, and commitment.
SubjectsWill be is used with all subjects like I, We, He, She, It, They.Shall be is used with “I” and “We” subjects.
Usage Will be is used in American English.Shall be is used in British English.
Short Form‘ll be for Will be ‘won’t be for Will not be (negative sentence)‘ll be for Shall be and Shan’t be for Shall not be (negative sentence)
ExampleI will be writing articles tomorrow from 10 amWe shall be launching a new application next month.

What is Will Be?

A model auxiliary verb, “Will”, is used to express the mental attitude of the subject. “Will” is used in the future tenses to indicate future possibilities, certainties, predictions, willingness, request, and insistence.

The “Will” is a robust model verb that expresses the pure future tense. The future continuous tense expresses the action that will happen at a particular time.

The future tense is expressed in three forms, such as affirmative, negative, and interrogative sentences.

“Will be” is used with the ing+verb and stresses the particular time in the future when the action takes place. Will be is also used with a past participle to form a passive sentence.

The Will be is used with personal pronouns like I, We, He, She, It, and They. Some of the examples describing the different sentence forms are

Affirmative sentence
Example: I will be going to Hyderabad tomorrow.

Negative Sentence
Example: She will not be studying at this time.

Interrogative sentence
Example: Will you be available at the office tomorrow?

Negative interrogative sentence
Example: Will they not be playing cricket at this time tomorrow?

Will be with the past participle
Example: The Article will be published by Monday.

will be 1

What is Shall Be?

“Shall” is also a modal auxiliary verb used in the future tense to express futurity, suggestions, commitment, and willingness. “Shall” is used in British English.

It is unusual to use “Shall be” in American English. It is rarely used to ask permission or communicate the dedicated or obligatory works. Shall be is used only with “I” and “We” personal pronouns.

Affirmative sentence
Example: We shall overcome this recession soon.

Negative Sentence
Example: I shall not be late to the office tomorrow.

The interrogative sentences use “will be” because Shall is used only for requests and promising purposes. for example
Shall I help you with your luggage?

It is unusual to interrogate someone using the “shall be” form. The “Shall be” is used to express future intentions.

The government bodies, institutions, and decision-makers use Shall be in their strategic plan. The “Shall be” expresses the commitments for the upcoming years.

The “Shall be” is used to make promises, commitments. Government budget plans include Shall be instead of Will be because the “Will be” denotes a particular event that may or may not happen.

shall be

Main Differences Between Will Be and Shall Be

  1. ‘Will be’ conveys certainty, possibility, and willingness in the future continuous tense, whereas ‘Shall be’ expresses dedication, futurity, promises, intentions, and suggestions.
  2. ‘Shall be’ is used with the I and We subject, whereas ‘Will be’ is used with other subjects.
  3. ‘Shall be’ is not used to interrogate. Instead, ‘Will be’ is used.
  4. ‘Shall be’ is used in British English, whereas ‘Will be’ is used in American English.
  5. ‘Will be’ does not guarantee an occurrence of an event, whereas ‘Shall be’ guarantees for the occurrence of an event.
Difference Between Will Be and Shall Be
References
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=aiSitM1zmzYC&oi=fnd&pg=PA5&dq=A+University+Grammar+of+English+By+Randolph+Quirk&ots=gGQeTeg3J1&sig=t3r48kXFX9pEaLgght0BLzjr5Jk

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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