I shall turn off the air-con. (strange?!)

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Senior Member

I remember when I was in Korea, in a English class, a kid in the class said "I feel cold." and the teacher said "Then I shall turn off the air-con.", and he did.

Now, when I think back, I think there isn't anything wrong with that. However, I think people don't say "shall" anymore, it is not used in daily English, is it?
Does shall here mean "should" or "will"? I think it could mean either of them, because if we want to change it, either go them works.

Am I right?
What do you say?
Thank you!
Have a good night!
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'Shall' is certainly still used and is the right word here: used in the first person, it expresses prediction rather than intention and thus conveys the certainty of the action.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Shall" is common in British English, but you are unlikely to hear it in the U.S.

    We also wouldn't shorten "air conditioning" or "air conditioner" to "air-con." If we felt compelled to shorten it at all, we'd call it the "AC."


    Senior Member
    English UK
    I expect a lot has already been said on this subject, but I've never really thought about it much. I'd always thought it might be an indiosyncracy of mine, but for me, there can be a difference betwen 'shall' and 'will'; like you say Happyweekend, for me 'shall' is close to 'should' and often sounds less enthusiastic than 'will'.

    Student: "I feel cold."
    Teacher thinks: ''That's odd... Maybe there is a current of cool air near where he is sitting. I know what I can do, yes, here is an idea:'' Thinks and says: ''I will turn the off the air conditioning. ('shall' would seem unnusual to me in this context').

    Student: "I feel cold."
    Teacher thinks ''My, there are so many distractions, so many things to deal with. This student is cold, so now I have to turn off the air conditioning for him.'' Says: ''Then I shall turn off the air conditioning.''
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    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think the normal way in BE is to say "I'll turn the air-conditioning off then". I'd hazard a guess that the teacher was "going by the book", for the sake of his students, and making a fine distinction between "I shall" and "I will"(more emphatic) which is no longer often made in speech.

    I don't agree with nodnol's analysis of the difference. There must be many threads here on the subject of "I shall/will". (Depending on the teacher's tone, it may denote tetchiness. Did he heave a little sigh when he said it, Happyweekend?) ;)
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    American English
    "shall" means "will" for me. I still use "shall" in American English, to attest for this side of the pond.

    I think nodnol brings up an interesting point about "shall" which isn't necessarily the point of the OP, but nonetheless valid.
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