shall we/Yes, let's

Discussion in 'English Only' started by nikkieli, May 16, 2007.

  1. nikkieli Senior Member

    Bulgaria, Bulgarian
    I saw in a test the following:
    "Shall we go to the cinema?"
    a. Yes, let's b. Yes, we shall c.Yes, let us

    The correct answer was a. Would you please comment on the other options and clarify why they are considered wrong.
    Thank you
  2. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    b) When "shall" is used in a question it indicates a suggestion or an offer, however when used in a statement it indicates a strong intention or will that something is to be done (or a prediction). This is not what is expected in reply to a suggestion (as it is over-assertive); what we expect is agreement, which takes into account the wishes of the person asking as well as those of the speaker. A plain reply using shall is therefore not appropriate.

    c) "Let us" sounds excessively formal (not to mention liturgical), we simply don't say it any more, except for comic effect perhaps.

    (In fact both b. and c. might be said if the speaker was being intentionally humorous or ironic, I would expect to hear it in funny voice though!)
  3. nikkieli Senior Member

    Bulgaria, Bulgarian
    you are very heplful, so thank you
  4. InsultComicDog Member

    USA, English
    I agree. "Yes, we shall" might be used somewhat mockingly in response to someone using the word "shall."

    Possibly with an accent reminiscent of Dick Van Dyke's "Chimney Sweep" character.
  5. birdman

    birdman Senior Member

    Taipei, Taiwan
    1. I am bewildered. "Yes, let's" doesn't sound like a complete sentence or answer. Shouldn't there be a "go" after "let's?

    2. I heard this dialog from The Gilmore Girls:

    "Shall we?"
    "Let's shall!"

    I suppose this is another mocking way of answering.
  6. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    It probably is incomplete, nevertheless it is perfectly conventional, although I tend to think it's a bit old-fashioned these days. It sounds kind of pre-60s middle class, and I hear it in my head spoken in received pronunciation! Perhaps that's just me.

    Yes, that Gilmore Girls quote is having fun with the phrase (and quite funny).
  7. dn88 Senior Member

    Hi there,

    "We shall" doesn't seem that wrong to me:

    "Shall we go to the cinema?"
    "(Yes), we shall."

    This answer somehow corresponds with the expected answer to the following question:

    "Will you go to the cinema?"
    "Yes, I will."

    (Notice that I changed the person). But personally, I wouldn't use "we shall" just to play by the rules of grammar. I'm only saying this because I suppose some people would use "we shall" in this case without even realizing that.

  8. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    "We shall" is a statement of positive fact. The question "Shall we?" is an invitation, not a request for confirmation of a fact.

    I think a. "Yes, let's!" fits best.
  9. anothersmith Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English, U.S.
    This was an allusion to an old TV cartoon (possibly Bugs Bunny) in which a pair of characters would say: "Shall we?" "Let's shall." It's not standard English; it's a joking play on formality.
  10. jbtatro New Member

    This was from the Woody Woodpecker Show , there were two crows named Heckle and Jeckle that would say it all the time
  11. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    As I remember it, it was Chip & Dale, two chipmunks, that said this.
  12. jbtatro New Member

    might be true I can't find when one quote was made first but I think Heckle and Jeckle are an older cartoon. They started out as a comic book in the 50's, and the cartoons first came out in the 60's. I have no idea who said it first but it was Heckle and Jeckle that were famous for saying this, in that one character spoke with an English accent and the other with a Brooklin accent and thereby famous for making fun of language differences. I believe the chipmonks might have been an allusion to the Heckle and Jeckle cartoon. A correction to what I said before is that they are magpies not crows.
  13. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that it was Heckle and Jeckle, although Chip & Dale are older, according to Wikipedia. Listening to a few clips of Chip & Dale, I think I have the wrong pair of rodents. The ones I'm thinking of have British accents. Ah... found them. I was thinking of Goofy Gophers (which have more of a high society American accent, actually).

    After listening through a few of their cartoons, they seem to say, "Shall we?" "Surely!". I'll see if I can find the Heckle & Jeckle instance.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011

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