shall vs should

This question is not a duplicate of:

because it provides detailed dictionary definitions, reveals a likely
contradiction in the strength of these two words, and covers usage scenarios
that are not addressed by those questions.

The definitions of shall and should confused me. It seems that shall can
be either stronger or weaker than should.

Case 1: shall < should

  • shall:

    • modal verb (SUGGEST)

      used, with “I” or “we”, to make a suggestion:

      Shall I call him tomorrow?

  • should:

    • modal verb (DUTY)

      used to say or ask what is the correct or best thing to do:

      Should I apologize to him?

Case 2: shall > should

  • shall:

    • modal verb (CERTAINLY WILL)

      used to say that something certainly will or must happen, or that you
      are determined that something will happen:

      You shall go to the ball, Cinderella.

  • should:

    • modal verb (PROBABLE)

      used to show when something is likely or expected:

      You should find this guidebook helpful.

So if two senior people (for example, a shall boss and a should boss) tell me:

  • You shall do something. and You should do something., or

  • The work shall be done tomorrow. and The work should be done tomorrow.

How can I tell who has a stronger will?


As it clearly states in the definitions that you provide, shall used to SUGGEST something is only used with I/we:

shall I call him tomorrow? – suggestion

So, in the shall/should boss sentences, shall can only mean CERTAINLY WILL. Context would dictate whether should means DUTY or PROBABLE, but whatever the meaning, it is weaker than CERTAINLY WILL.

The shall boss is the tough cookie.

Source : Link , Question Author : Cyker , Answer Author : JavaLatte

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