Bychoice (bychoice) wrote in linguaphiles,

Will vs. Shall

It often seems to me that "will" and "shall" can be used interchangeably, with only a tiny bit difference in tone. However, a friend sent me the following quote and asked about "will" vs. "shall" in it.

What warm, unspoken secrets will we learn? Beyond the point of no return.

I told him:
I think that "shall" implies that it will definitely happen.
"what shall we learn beyond the point of no return?"
"what will we learn beyond the point of no return?"
The best way I can explain this is that in the second one, with "will", he is holding out his hand to someone, implying "if you come with me". In the first one, the listener has taken his hand, and it implies "when you come with me."

What do the rest of you think of using "will" or "shall" in this quote? Would the meaning or flavor change? Also, if I'm totally wrong about the use of "shall" please let me know. Thanks!

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