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Tyoma
Posted: Monday, November 5, 2018 2:07:18 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/31/2018
Posts: 21
Neurons: 119
1. "Shall I buy some eggs?"
2. "Shall I buy any eggs?"

Can you tell me which is correct, please?
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 2:13:08 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 9,707
Neurons: 51,295
Tyoma wrote:
1. "Shall I buy some eggs?"
2. "Shall I buy any eggs?"

Can you tell me which is correct, please?


Both are correct, and both say the same thing. "Any" and "some" are often used interchangeably.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Tyoma
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 3:41:50 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/31/2018
Posts: 21
Neurons: 119
Thank you, FounDit.

Can I say that we ask “Shall I buy some eggs?” when we offer to buy eggs?

Can I say that we ask “Shall I buy any eggs?” when we have no idea if eggs are needed and just ask for instructions whether to buy them or not.
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 4:33:13 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 9,707
Neurons: 51,295
Tyoma wrote:
Thank you, FounDit.

Can I say that we ask “Shall I buy some eggs?” when we offer to buy eggs?

Can I say that we ask “Shall I buy any eggs?” when we have no idea if eggs are needed and just ask for instructions whether to buy them or not.


Yes, to both questions. In American English, however, we almost never use "shall" unless we are quoting some old-fashioned English such as "Never the twain shall meet". We would most often say, "Should".


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 5:53:16 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 30,383
Neurons: 179,167
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I agree - in British English, 'shall' is a little more common than in American.
It is especially used in this sort of 'suggesting/offering question' - sometimes the form 'should' is used.

Shall we dance?
Shall we have dinner now?
Shall I buy some eggs?
- offering to pay for the eggs
Shall I buy any eggs? - I'm just going to the shop; do we need eggs?
Should I buy any eggs?
Should I start the video now, or wait till John gets here?


In British English, where there is a choice between 'shall' and 'will', modern normal speech will use 'will'. In the questions above, "will" would not work.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Tyoma
Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2018 12:15:43 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 10/31/2018
Posts: 21
Neurons: 119
FounDit wrote:
In American English, however, we almost never use "shall" unless we are quoting some old-fashioned English such as "Never the twain shall meet". We would most often say, "Should".

The Google Ngram Viewer tool says that 'Shall I' in American English is a bit more common than 'Should I', and the difference is even bigger in British English. Think

http://goo.gl/iWNzLc
http://goo.gl/MJ6KwN

RuthP
Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2018 12:28:19 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/2/2009
Posts: 5,141
Neurons: 56,686
Location: Drain, Oregon, United States
Tyoma wrote:
FounDit wrote:
In American English, however, we almost never use "shall" unless we are quoting some old-fashioned English such as "Never the twain shall meet". We would most often say, "Should".

The Google Ngram Viewer tool says that 'Shall I' in American English is a bit more common than 'Should I', and the difference is even bigger in British English. Think

http://goo.gl/iWNzLc
http://goo.gl/MJ6KwN


Tyoma is right for general conversation. (Unless, perhaps, you're dealing with someone more or less ancient, like me. I still use "shall" occasionally for emphasis.)

There is a very slight difference between "Shall I?" and "Should I?" "Shall I?" simply asks whether the hearer would like me to proceed. "Should I?" carries overtones of maybe I should not, maybe it's not proper. There is no actual difference between the two questions, in that if you ask a native speaker, she will likely define them the same way. The overtone / feeling difference is there, however, and may (likely unconsciously) drive the use of one versus the other.

"Shall" is still used in regulations and standard operating procedures. "Shall" in a regulation or written procedure means "must be done". It may be used legally that way, too, but that's a bit out of my bailiwick (sort-of pun intended).

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