A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1807

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1807

Shall. v. defective. [sceal, Sax. is originally I owe, or I ought. In Chaucer, the faithe I shall to God, means the faith I owe to God: thence it became a sign of the future tense. The French use devoir, dois, doit, in the same manner, with a kind of future signification; and the Swedes have skall, and the Islanders skal, in the same sense. It has no tenses but shall future, and should imperfect.

The explanation of shall, which foreigners and provincials confound with will, is not easy; and the difficulty is increased by the poets, who sometimes give to shall an emphatical sense of will: but I shall endeavour, crassâ Minervâ, to show the meaning of shall in the future tense.]

  1. I Shall love. It will so happen that I must love; I am resolved to love.

  2. Shall I love? Will it be permitted me to love? Will you permit me to love? Will it happen that I must love?

  3. Thou Shalt love. I command thee to love; it is permitted thee to love: [in poetry or solemn diction] it will happen that thou must love.

  4. Shalt thou love? Will it happen that thou must love? Will it be permitted to thee to love?

  5. He Shall love. It will happen that he must love; it is commanded him that he love.

    It is a mind, that shall remain a poison where it is.
    — — Shall remain!
    Hear you this triton of the minnows? Mark you
    His absolute shall?
    Shakesp. Coriolanus.

            See Romulus the great:
    This prince a priestess of your blood shall bear,
    And like his sire in arms he shall appear.
    Dryden's Æn.

    That he shall receive no benefit from Christ, is the affirmation whereon all his despair is founded; and the one way of removing this dismal apprehension, is to convince him that Christ's death, and the benefits thereof, either do, or, if he perform the condition required of him, shall certainly belong to him. Hammond's Fundamentals.

  6. Shall he love? Is it permitted him to love? In solemn language, Will it happen that he must love?

  7. The plural persons follow the signification of the singulars.

Sources: Chaucer, Geoffrey (4) · Shakespeare's Coriolanus (80) · Dryden, John (788) · Hammond, Henry (47)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Shall." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: May 29, 2012. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/shall/.

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