the rough places will be made plains


Senior Member
japanese japan

I'm now learning by heart the speech of "I have a dream" by Martin Luther King.

I came across a phrase which I wonder why he used 'will' instead of 'shall'.

The context;

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places willl be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

As you see above, MRK used shall twice at the beginning but he changed to will then again used shall at the end. I wonder why he did change auxiliary verbs in this way.

My guess is that 'will' indicates the deeds which make something better are done by human being and 'shall' indicates they are done by God, in other words, 'shall' means that some magical power takes effects in making valleys exalted and hill and mountains low. But I'm not at all sure about this.

Thanks in advance.
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    He is quoting the Bible : Isaiah 40-4. There are many versions of the translation into English. I think he was just making an oratorial choice not to have every form as shall. I don't think the force that will cause these future events to happen is related to the verb choice! Most of the earlier translations use shall for all these.
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