Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22

Thread: The use of "shall" in English versions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    215

    Default The use of "shall" in English versions

    I'm trying to establish a pattern (if there is one) for the use of "shall" vs. "will" in English versions (esp. NKJV, ESV, NAU), but haven't found one based on Greek grammar - some futures are rendered "shall", some "will".

    Example: "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." (Mat*1:21*NKJ)

    Anybody have any insights on this?

    Thanks, Ingo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,134

    Default

    I don't know if it's entirely consistent in translationese, but in my experience shall is used for a stronger imperative/command. In reality, shall is not really used much at all in modern English and is almost archaic these days.

    The Wiki article is pretty thorough.
    Last edited by Michael Hanel; 01-14-2010 at 01:23 PM.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

  3. #3

    Default Fowler on shall & will

    Michael's right about it being archaic now, but for the usage of yester-year, check out Fowler, King's English on shall/will.

    Dale A. Brueggemann

    כִּי עֶזְרָא הֵכִין לְבָבוֹ לִדְרוֹשׁ אֶת־תּוֹרַת יְהוָה וְלַעֲשֹׂת וּלְלַמֵּד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל חֹק וּמִשְׁפָּט (Ezra 7:10)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,122

    Default

    Michael is correct in that shall appeared -- in the past -- to be used for a slightly more emphatic future than will, but ususally in regard of action.

    For example, you will notice in the KJV that shall is employed in all three places in Matthew 1:21.

    There was a great emphasis on certain passages in this respect. Perhaps the most notable of the Puritan era was John Bunyan's proclamation that John 6:37 was called THE GREAT SHALL COME.

    "All that the Father giveth me SHALL COME to me; and him that cometh to me I WILL in no wise cast out." John 6:37

    Why is anybody actually saved at all, seeing as he is dead in trespasses and sins and therefore not even able to hear, much less respond -- respond SAVINGLY -- to the Gospel of Christ?

    Why?

    Because, according to Bunyan, THE GREAT SHALL COME decrees it so!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,218

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ingosorke View Post
    I'm trying to establish a pattern (if there is one) for the use of "shall" vs. "will" in English versions (esp. NKJV, ESV, NAU), but haven't found one based on Greek grammar - some futures are rendered "shall", some "will".

    Example: "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." (Mat*1:21*NKJ)

    Anybody have any insights on this?

    Thanks, Ingo
    Hi Ingo. "Shall" is usually only used for the second person (i.e., You, Thou, etc.). But it is archaic.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,122

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ISalzman View Post
    Hi Ingo. "Shall" is usually only used for the second person (i.e., You, Thou, etc.). But it is archaic.
    No, that is not true. Shall is used with multiple persons. Shalt (with the "t") is used with the second person.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,218

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
    No, that is not true. Shall is used with multiple persons. Shalt (with the "t") is used with the second person.
    Well, that may be true. But common usage isn't always correct. I once had an English professor who said that, according to proper English grammar, "shall" was best used with the second person. I don't doubt however that you'll find it used with different persons as well.

    Nevertheless, there is a lot which passes for common usage, but is grammatically incorrect. For example, the English word "presently" is almost always misused in common parlance. Most people equate it with "currently." However, "presently" does not mean "currently;" it actually means "soon" or "about to." Other English words which are commonly misused include "emigrate" vs. "immigrate," etc.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,122

    Default

    The shall in its base form is used both grammatically and popularly with all persons, i.e., I shall, you shall, he shall, she shall, we shall, they shall, etc. It's that way now; its always been that way. It has nothing to do with the second person whatsoever.

    As the 1828 Webster states --

    "Shall is primarily in the present tense, and in our mother tongue was followed by a verb in the infinitive, like other verbs... It is now treated as a mere auxiliary to other verbs, serving to form some of the tenses...."

    In other words, the word shall as a verb has everything to do with tenses, but in its bare form has nothing to do with the person. That is determined, as with other inflected languages, by its inflected form, which used to be shalt when one desired to indicate the second person in that form of that verb.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,218

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
    The shall in its base form is used both grammatically and popularly with all persons, i.e., I shall, you shall, he shall, she shall, we shall, they shall, etc. It's that way now; its always been that way. It has nothing to do with the second person whatsoever.

    As the 1828 Webster states --

    "Shall is primarily in the present tense, and in our mother tongue was followed by a verb in the infinitive, like other verbs... It is now treated as a mere auxiliary to other verbs, serving to form some of the tenses...."

    In other words, the word shall as a verb has everything to do with tenses, but in its bare form has nothing to do with the person. That is determined, as with other inflected languages, by its inflected form, which used to be shalt when one desired to indicate the second person in that form of that verb.
    Well, I guess it's settled then. Scott, should Obama ever appoint a secretary of English grammar to his cabinet, you have got my unswerving vote!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,122

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ISalzman View Post
    Well, I guess it's settled then. Scott, should Obama ever appoint a secretary of English grammar to his cabinet, you have got my unswerving vote!
    If he does, it should be decreed that the newly appointed Secretary of Grammar SHALL be accurate!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •