Shall / Will we go shopping....?

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lightheart

Senior Member
Sichuan,China-Chinese
Sample test:
— _____ we go shopping this afternoon?
— Yes, let’s do that.

A. Shall
B. Will

Background:
Someone told me that “Shall we” here is BrE while “Will we” is AmE, where I disagreed. According to Ngram Viewer, this is no such use as “Will we go shopping”, which I think is because “Will we” isn’t the idiomatic way to show suggestion. I surely agree that “Will we” is sometimes used to form a question other than suggestion.

Question:
Is B a possible answer here?

Thanks if you would help : )
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I agree with Mr. Old Owl - although the answer they want you to choose is A., B. is perfectly possible - it can even be interpreted as a request - let's go shopping at last, please!

    This is a bad question.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The word let's in the answer indicates that the question was probably a suggestion with shall. Outside of this suggestion use, and the tag questions shall I?, shall we?, it's true that the use of shall for an ordinary future is largely confined to BrE, and even there many BrE speakers always say will.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I disagree with Boozer. "Will we..." is not perfectly possible in this context -- it's not even marginally possible unless you're Scottish (perhaps). Will we is what you'd say for a long-term prediction: "When we're in Paris next month, will we go shopping one afternoon? Will we have time for that?"

    This context isn't a long-term prediction, it's a short-term proposal, so "shall we...?"

    As for whether "many British speakers always say will" for the ordinary future as Entangledbank suggests in #4, I'd go further. All British speakers usually avoid it because what they say is we'll.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I agree with Mr. Old Owl - although the answer they want you to choose is A., B. is perfectly possible - it can even be interpreted as a request - let's go shopping at last, please!

    This is a bad question.
    I upticked your post by mistake. I disagree that B. is a possible answer here as they are obviously angling for a suggestion, given the answer.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I agree they are angling for a suggestion.

    Still, I can imagine a child pestering his parents using 'will' - will you take me shopping, will we go shopping, pleaaaaaase! Let's go shopping, daddy! You promised we would! I want you to buy me a new hat! :)

    No?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I find it easy enough to think of a scenario where "will" would fit. The first speaker is not making a suggestion, but thinks the second speaker has a plan of what to do, and is asking about it. The second speaker does not, in fact, have a plan, but now that the other person has mentioned it, thinks that shopping is a good idea.

    However, this is a rather convoluted scenario for the dialogue, and the obvious answer is "shall".
     
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