General grammar thread (was Re: Checking in)

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at
Sat Jan 24 18:01:24 EST 2004

On Saturday, January 24, 2004, at 03:58  PM, Charles Butler wrote:

>> Roger
>> --
>> I have a version of that which I've never heard anywhere else. Roughly
>> formulated, it is something like this:
>> For first person, "shall" indicates intention and is for normal use  
>> ("I
>> shall go to the cinema tomorrow"), while "will" indicates an emphatic
>> intention or perhaps a serious undertaking ("I will have vengeance").
>> For second and third persons, this is reversed ("He will go with you",
>> "They shall pursue you to the ends of the Earth").
>> Has anyone else met this?
> Yes, is all I can tell you. I've no idea what its linguistic *bona  
> fides*
> might be, but this is the way my grandfather's grammar books (my  
> source for
> grammatical knowledge of English when I was a child, and probably  
> dating
> from about 1920) put it.
> Charlie
> -

I think the shall/will distinction is falling away (at least in spoken,  
North American English). I'm not saying that it should or shouldn't . .  

Others have expressed their grammar/style bugaboos, things that drive  
them to drink, distraction, or over the cliff. For me it's the misuse  
of the words envy and jealousy (in their various forms). Being jealous  
and being envious are two very different things.

(who's editing a course manuscript now and finding comma splices  

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Thomas Jefferson

Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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