"shall" vs "will", "should" vs "would"(Usage Disputes)
The traditional rules for using these (based on the usage of educated Southern Englishmen in the 18th and 19th centuries) are quite intricate, and require some choices ("Should you like to see London?"; "The doctor thought I should die") that are no longer idiomatically reasonable. But if you're dead set on learning them, you can access the relevant section of _The King's English_ at http://www.bartleby.com/116/index.html Usage outside England has always been different, although the historical prevalence of "shall" in the U.S. is sometimes underestimated: Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately"; and the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" has "To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed." The old joke, where the Irishman cries for help: "I will drown and no one shall save me" and the Englishman mistakes this for a suicide resolution, is contrived, in that an Irishman would far more likely say "no one will save me."
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