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I hope someody knows about MacArthur's speeches: I shall return.
Is there any difference if he had said ' I will return' ?

Thanks
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I was told it's about the same, but "shall" was supposed to become British Standard.
(Don't know if it really did though, I was taught "will" at school - rather than shall, even we actually usually had British English to be the basis.)

As far as I was once told, "shall" had been (formally) used to replace "will" in former times - as the only correct and proper standard form.
In March 1942 General Douglas MacArthur, who was to become Supreme Commander of Allied forces in the South-West Pacific Area (SWPA), escaped from the Philippines to Australia. He landed at Batchelor, near Darwin, in the Northern Territory and during the subsequent rail journey south stopped at Terowrie, South Australia, where locals and reporters crowded the railway station. In an address to the assembled people, he famously declared:

The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organising an American offensive against Japan, the primary purpose of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through and I will return.

The shortened catchphrase 'I shall return' became MacArthur’s most famous words.
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As I understand it, the difference indicates strong/emphasized rather no-emphasis.  The usage inverts depending on the person.

I will return.  NO EMPHASIS
I shall return.  STRONG EMPHASIS

You shall return.  NO EMPHASIS
You will return.  STRONG EMPHASIS
salam1101I hope someody knows about MacArthur's speeches: I shall return.
Is there any difference if he had said ' I will return' ?

Thanks
As I recall the story, he actually said, "I will return", but journalists at the time thought it more forceful as "I shall return", so they reported it that way. It's the same basic meaning either way, although I think most Americans do think "shall" shows more force and determination than "will" -- probably because we so seldom hear or say "shall".

I don't know if the story is true, but it is believable.

CJ

P.S. Years ago grammarians had strict rules about the use of "will" and "shall", which nobody pays any attention to anymore these days, but I don't believe that those complicated rules have anything to do with the MacArthur story.
I was taught that in the future tense, shall was used with the first person singular and plural (I and we), and will with the rest. That was thirty years ago; about five years ago I had a conversation with my teacher, in which he told me that shall is old-fashioned and that only will is used now for all persons (likewise, he has changed from the should/would equivalent he taught me for conditional to only would). But I was wondering when that has become the standard, and whether it's considered really correct when writing formal texts.
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I could write about shall and will till late afternoon but I'll just briefly mention why shall was originally preferred in the first persons. Even today will means to want in certain contexts. That was its original meaning, which has been retained in related verbs in languages such as Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and German.

There was no future tense in Old English. As the tense slowly evolved, it was felt to be more polite not to impose an obligation upon the person and therefore will became to be preferred in the second and third grammatical persons. When one said you will go there, it made the action seem voluntary. Shall, which used to mean to owe, to have to, to be under obligation, however, could freely be used with "I" and "we".

Even in modern English shall can denote obligation, threat or something similar if it is used in the second and third persons: You shall regret this! Nuances like this may elude people whose knowledge of English isn't particularly good.

Shall is still widely used in the first persons in certain types of sentences. For example, if I were to ask permission, I would say: Shall I open the window? I don't think very many people would say: Will I open the window? Other auxiliaries could of course also be used: Can I open the window?

CB
ColomboI was wondering ... whether it's considered really correct when writing formal texts.
Wonder no more! It is really correct to use will for all persons even in the most formal texts. (Likewise for would in conditionals.)

As Cool Breeze has pointed out, even the asking of permission in the first person "Shall I ...?" need not be expressed with "shall".

The truth is that, theoretically, you just might be able to live your entire life in the U.S. without ever hearing or saying "shall".

CJ
Cool Breeze, thanks a lot for that interesting explanation. It's good not only to know things, but also to know why they are as they are.

CalifJim
ColomboI was wondering ... whether it's considered really correct when writing formal texts.
Wonder no more! It is really correct to use will for all persons even in the most formal texts. (Likewise for would in conditionals.)

Thanks! Considering that it's not so long ago that I was taught about shall, I didn't know whether the evolution towards will had started recently and was not standard for written English yet. I'll try to get used to using only will, because I don't want to sound as old-fashioned as Dickens (although if my English could be like Dickens's in all other respects, I think I could tolerate some antiquity in it! Emotion: big smile)
CalifJimAs Cool Breeze has pointed out, even the asking of permission in the first person "Shall I ...?" need not be expressed with "shall".

This is really new for me. I though that was the only (or almost the only) case where shall was still used in a compulsory way.
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