Hey ABA family!
Often in English when we make offers and suggestions, we tend to use the conditional so as to be polite to the interlocutor. On the other hand if the interlocutor is our friend or someone we are very comfortable around, we may choose to use the more casual way of offering by using the present simple.
There is another way of making offers and suggestions in English, however. Today we are going to look at “shall” and how we use it in offers and suggestions.
Is using “shall” very common?
In English, the use of “shall” has declined in recent years, but that is not to say that its use is of less importance in the English language today than before.
“Shall” is considered to be rather formal and is generally used in the first and third person singular both in the future simple tense and also when we use it to make offers and suggestions.
- Shall I make you a coffee?
- Shall I cook some pancakes for breakfast?
These are examples using shall in the first person singular to offer to do something for someone.
It is also important to bear in mind that we could have used the “would you like me to” structure and it would have had the same meaning.
Shall in suggestions
Unlike the examples above which imply offering to do something for someone, we can also use it to suggest things that may be done.
- Shall we go to the cinema this evening?
- Shall we invite our friends for dinner?
Here we can note the suggestion being proposed rather than it being an offer to do something for someone else.
It is also worth pointing out the structure which needs to be adopted in order to make these offers or suggestions using “shall”. You will notice that “shall” and the subject have been inverted to create the offer/suggestion, rather than subject followed by “shall” which would be affirmative.
What is important to remember?
When studying this grammar point, it is important to focus on the structure and content of the offer or suggestion that you wish to make.
In addition to this, learning the grammar piece by piece instead of everything at once is vital. If you would like more tips on this grammar point then sign up for free to ABA English and check out unit 41 of the course.