shall you marry me

slovac

Senior Member
Could I ask please? When I want to ask a woman whether she wants to marry me. What is better to tell?
Shall you marry me?
Or
Will you marry me?
I often see option with WILL,but I don't understand why. Because I am not asking on exact fact.
Thank you.
 
  • Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Will. :)

    Shall
    is used when things are more "certain". "I shall drive my car tomorrow." "I shall marry you!" "Will" could most certainly be used in those examples as well, though.

    All this being said, not many people actually use shall anymore. It sounds a bit "old fashioned." :)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    This is another incidence of where the "rules" laid down by ESL teachers or others go astray and tend to take learners with them into a syntactical abyss.

    "Shall" is indeed falling out of use but the overriding reason here why we don't say "Shall you marry me?" is simply that no native speaker would ever say it that way - and if he did, a prospective bride would find him quite weird.
     
    Thank you for posting this slovac. I am also curious!

    Being told at school (in Italy) to use shall only with I and We and will with everything, I know it is hypersimplicistic.

    What I know is that I tend to use shall when I try to impress someone with my formal speech, having in mind the abused "Shall we dance?"

    Let's wait for our native friends!
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Thank you for posting this slovac. I am also curious!

    Being told at school (in Italy) to use shall only with I and We and will with everything, I know it is hypersimplicistic.

    What I know is that I tend to use shall when I try to impress someone with my formal speech, having in mind the abused "Shall we dance?"

    Let's wait for our native friends!
    I'd hate to say "do not listen to your teacher", but....Do not listen to your teacher. :) If you use shall in everyday speech, you will sound more foreign than you can imagine. :)

    There are things taught in books, and some of them are not really ever said much. Shall is one of them.

    I could go the rest of my life never saying shall again and be just fine. :)

    A native speaking English teacher would most likely not tell you that you must use shall.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I think getting a complete grasp of modal verbs is a nightmare for learners. There are little rules made up to guide you, but some of them sound odd to native speakers.

    I guess you will not need to propose to many people, but when you DO want to propose, use WILL you marry me? -- because that is what we say, regardless of any other rules which might apply to modals in different contexts.

    Here is an example of how I use SHALL in my daily life = when we are about to leave a place I regularly say to my mates "Shall we go?"
     
    I'd hate to say "do not listen to your teacher", but....Do not listen to your teacher. :) If you use shall in everyday speech, you will sound more foreign than you can imagine. :)

    There are things taught in books, and some of them are not really ever said much. Shall is one of them.

    I could go the rest of my life never saying shall again and be just fine. :)

    A native speaking English teacher would most likely not tell you that you must use shall.
    Thank you Filsmith, I appreciate.

    When I say school I mean 35+ years ago... I hope Italian teachers have grown up too, in the meantime:)
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Will' doesn't always make a simple statement about the future. It can also mean "want", as it does here. Even for people who naturally say 'shall', 'shall' can't be used for "want".
     

    Hau Ruck

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Here is an example of how I use SHALL in my daily life = when we are about to leave a place I regularly say to my mates "Shall we go?"
    This is a good example and a good point.

    I'd most likely say "should we go" or "ready to go" though. Might be a subtle vernacular difference between our sides of the pond. :)

    My dad always said, "shall we go" but it made me grind my teeth every time he said it. :D
     
    I think getting a complete grasp of modal verbs is a nightmare for learners. There are little rules made up to guide you, but some of them sound odd to native speakers.

    I guess you will not need to propose to many people, but when you DO want to propose, use WILL you marry me? -- because that is what we say, regardless of any other rules which might apply to modals in different contexts.

    Here is an example of how I use SHALL in my daily life = when we are about to leave a place I regularly say to my mates "Shall we go?"
    True!

    My wife is used to say simply "Shall we?"

    Anyone using "Shall we?" meaning "Shall we go?"
     
    Last edited:

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I could go the rest of my life never saying shall again and be just fine. :)
    :thumbsup:

    Moreover, I strongly suggest that you avoid: trying to "impress someone with my formal speech"

    Even among native English speakers such an effort is often comical, incomprehensible and just plain weird.


     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Slovac, it all depends where you intend to travel.

    "Shall" is alive and well in Britain, and especially Ireland, but only used with "I" and "we". "Shall I open the window?" is a perfectly correct and everyday question in the British Isles.

    But not "Shall you..." as far as I know.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    'Shall' is certainly alive and well in Britain, e.g.

    "Shall we go to the cinema tonight?"

    You could even say "Shall we get get married?" if you do not want to make a formal proposal.

    However the traditional way is to say "Will you marry me?" in the sense of "Is it your will to marry me?"
     
    Last edited:

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    What I have always taught in BrE, and I find that it generally works, is:

    For statements and questions of fact, use "will" in all persons.
    You can use "shall" in the first person but it's quite formal nowadays.
    Use "will" in the second person also for requests.

    Use "shall" in the first person singular and plural when asking what someone wants:
    It's hot in here! Shall I open the window?
    Where shall we go this evening?

    Comparison: When shall we meet again? = When would you like to meet again?
    When will we meet again? = I wonder when our next meeting will be.

    Use "shall" in the third person to mean something like "must"; it's very formal and is used mainly in contracts.

    No rules cover 100% of cases but you can get by on these.
     
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