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In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
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1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
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shall

SHALL,

1. Shall is primarily in the present, and in our mother tongue was followed by a verb in the infinitive, like other verbs. "Ic sceal fram the beon gefullod." I have need to be baptized of thee. "Ic nu sceal singan sar-cwidas." I must now sing mornful songs.

We still use shall and should before another verb in the infinitive, without the sign to; but significance of shall is considerably deflected from its primitive sense. It is now treated as a mere auxiliary to other verbs, serving to form some of the tenses. In the present tense, shall, before a verb in the infinitive, forms the future tense; but its force and effect are different with different persons or personal pronouns. Thus in the first person, shall simply foretells or declares what will take place; as, I or we shall ride to town on Monday. This declaration simply informs another of a fact that is to take place. The sense of shall here is changed from an expression of need or duty, to that of previous statement or information, grounded on intention or resolution. When uttered with emphasis, "I shall go," it expresses firm determination, but not a promise.

2. In the second and third persons, shall implies a promise, command or determination. "You shall receive your wages," "he shall receive his wages," imply that you or he ought to receive them; but usage gives these phrases the force of a promise in the person uttering them.

When shall is uttered with emphasis in such phrases, it expresses determination in the speaker, and implies an authority to enforce the act. "Do you refuse to go? Does he refuse to go? But you or he shall go."

3. Shall I go, shall he go, interrogatively, asks, for permission or direction. But shall you go, asks for information of another's intention.

4. But after another verb, shall, in the third person, simply foretells. He says that he shall leave town to-morrow. So also in the second person; you say that you shall ride to-morrow.

5. After if, and some verbs which expresscondition or supposition, shall, in all the persons, simply foretells; as,

If I shall say, or we shall say,

Thou shalt say, ye or you shall say,




Evolution (or devolution) of this word [shall]

1828 Webster1844 Webster1913 Webster

SHALL,

1. Shall is primarily in the present, and in our mother tongue was followed by a verb in the infinitive, like other verbs. "Ic sceal fram the beon gefullod." I have need to be baptized of thee. "Ic nu sceal singan sar-cwidas." I must now sing mornful songs.

We still use shall and should before another verb in the infinitive, without the sign to; but significance of shall is considerably deflected from its primitive sense. It is now treated as a mere auxiliary to other verbs, serving to form some of the tenses. In the present tense, shall, before a verb in the infinitive, forms the future tense; but its force and effect are different with different persons or personal pronouns. Thus in the first person, shall simply foretells or declares what will take place; as, I or we shall ride to town on Monday. This declaration simply informs another of a fact that is to take place. The sense of shall here is changed from an expression of need or duty, to that of previous statement or information, grounded on intention or resolution. When uttered with emphasis, "I shall go," it expresses firm determination, but not a promise.

2. In the second and third persons, shall implies a promise, command or determination. "You shall receive your wages," "he shall receive his wages," imply that you or he ought to receive them; but usage gives these phrases the force of a promise in the person uttering them.

When shall is uttered with emphasis in such phrases, it expresses determination in the speaker, and implies an authority to enforce the act. "Do you refuse to go? Does he refuse to go? But you or he shall go."

3. Shall I go, shall he go, interrogatively, asks, for permission or direction. But shall you go, asks for information of another's intention.

4. But after another verb, shall, in the third person, simply foretells. He says that he shall leave town to-morrow. So also in the second person; you say that you shall ride to-morrow.

5. After if, and some verbs which expresscondition or supposition, shall, in all the persons, simply foretells; as,

If I shall say, or we shall say,

Thou shalt say, ye or you shall say,


SHALL, v.i. [verb auxiliary. pret. should. Sax. scealan, scylan, to be obliged. It coincides in signification nearly with ought, it is a duty, it is necessary; D. zal, zul; G. soll; Sw. skola, pret. skulle; Dan. skal, skulle, skulde. The German and Dutch have lost the palatal letter of the verb; but it appears in the derivative G. schuld, guilt, fault, culpability, debt; D. schuld, Sw. skuld, Dan. skyld, debt, fault, guilt; skylder, to owe; Sax. scyld, debt, offeuse, L. scelus. The literal sense is to hold or be held, hence to owe, and hence the sense of guilt, a being held, bound or liable to justice and punishment. In the Teutonic dialects, schulden, skyld, are used in the Lord's prayer, as “forgive us our debts,” but neither debt nor trespass expresses the exact idea, which includes sin or crime, and liability to punishment. The word seems to be allied in origin to skill, L. calleo, to be able, to know. See Skill. Shall is defective, having no infinitive, imperative or participle. It ought to be written shal, as the original has one l only, and it has one only in shalt and should.]

  1. Shall is primarily in the present tense, and in our mother tongue was followed by a verb in the infinitive, like other verbs. “Ic sceal fram the beon gefullod,” I have need to be baptized of thee. Matth. iii. “Ic nu sceal singan sarcwidas,” I must now sing mournful songs. Boethius. We still use shall and should before another verb in the infinitive, without the sign to; but the signification of shall is considerably deflected from its primitive sense. It is now treated as a mere auxiliary to other verbs, serving to form some of the tenses. In the present tense, shall, before a verb in the infinitive, forms the future tense; but its force and effect are different with the different persons or personal pronouns. Thus in the first person, shall simply foretells or declares what will take place; as, I or we shall ride to town on Monday. This declaration simply informs another of a fact that is to take place. The sense of shall here is changed from an expression of need or duty, to that of previous statement or information, grounded on intention or resolution. When uttered with emphasis, “I shall go,” it expresses firm determination, but not a promise.
  2. In the second and third persons, shall implies a promise, command or determination. “You shall receive your wages,” “he shall receive his wages,” imply that you or he ought to receive them; but usage gives to these phrases the force of a promise in the person uttering them. When shall is uttered with emphasis in such phrases, it expresses determination in the speaker, and implies an authority to enforce the act. “Do you refuse to go? Does he refuse to go? But you or he shall go.”
  3. Shall I go, shall he go, interrogatively, asks for permission or direction. But shall you go, asks for information of another's intention.
  4. But after another verb, shall, in the third person simply foretells. He says that he shall leave town to-morrow. So also the second person; you say that you shall ride to-morrow.
  5. After if and some verbs which express condition or supposition, shall, in all the persons, simply foretells; as, If I shall say, or we shall say, Thou shalt say, ye or you shall say, He shall say, they shall say.
  6. Should, in the first person, implies a conditional event. “I should have written a letter yesterday, had I not been interrupted.” Or it expresses obligation, and that in all the persons. I should, Thou shouldst, He should, You should, have paid the bill on demand; it was my duty, your duty, his duty to pay the bill on demand, but it was not paid.
  7. Should, though properly the past tense of shall, is often used to express a contingent future event; as, if it should rain to-morrow; if you should go to London next week; if he should arrive within a month. In like manner after though, grant, admit, allow.

Shall
  1. To owe; to be under obligation for.

    [Obs.] "By the faith I shall to God" Court of Love.
  2. To be obliged; must.

    [Obs.] "Me athinketh [I am sorry] that I shall rehearse it her." Chaucer.
  3. As an auxiliary, shall indicates a duty or necessity whose obligation is derived from the person speaking; as, you shall go; he shall go; that is, I order or promise your going. It thus ordinarily expresses, in the second and third persons, a command, a threat, or a promise. If the auxillary be emphasized, the command is made more imperative, the promise or that more positive and sure. It is also employed in the language of prophecy; as, "the day shall come when . . . , " since a promise or threat and an authoritative prophecy nearly coincide in significance. In shall with the first person, the necessity of the action is sometimes implied as residing elsewhere than in the speaker; as, I shall suffer; we shall see; and there is always a less distinct and positive assertion of his volition than is indicated by will. "I shall go" implies nearly a simple futurity; more exactly, a foretelling or an expectation of my going, in which, naturally enough, a certain degree of plan or intention may be included; emphasize the shall, and the event is described as certain to occur, and the expression approximates in meaning to our emphatic "I will go." In a question, the relation of speaker and source of obligation is of course transferred to the person addressed; as, "Shall you go?" (answer, "I shall go"); "Shall he go?" i. e., "Do you require or promise his going?" (answer, "He shall go".) The same relation is transferred to either second or third person in such phrases as "You say, or think, you shall go;" "He says, or thinks, he shall go." After a conditional conjunction (as if, whether) shall is used in all persons to express futurity simply; as, if I, you, or he shall say they are right. Should is everywhere used in the same connection and the same senses as shall, as its imperfect. It also expresses duty or moral obligation; as, he should do it whether he will or not. In the early English, and hence in our English Bible, shall is the auxiliary mainly used, in all the persons, to express simple futurity. (Cf. Will, v. t.) Shall may be used elliptically; thus, with an adverb or other word expressive of motion go may be omitted.

    "He to England shall along with you." Shak.

    * Shall and will are often confounded by inaccurate speakers and writers. Say: I shall be glad to see you. Shall I do this? Shall I help you? (not Will I do this?) See Will.

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Shall

SHALL,

1. Shall is primarily in the present, and in our mother tongue was followed by a verb in the infinitive, like other verbs. 'Ic sceal fram the beon gefullod.' I have need to be baptized of thee. 'Ic nu sceal singan sar-cwidas.' I must now sing mornful songs.

We still use shall and should before another verb in the infinitive, without the sign to; but significance of shall is considerably deflected from its primitive sense. It is now treated as a mere auxiliary to other verbs, serving to form some of the tenses. In the present tense, shall, before a verb in the infinitive, forms the future tense; but its force and effect are different with different persons or personal pronouns. Thus in the first person, shall simply foretells or declares what will take place; as, I or we shall ride to town on Monday. This declaration simply informs another of a fact that is to take place. The sense of shall here is changed from an expression of need or duty, to that of previous statement or information, grounded on intention or resolution. When uttered with emphasis, 'I shall go, ' it expresses firm determination, but not a promise.

2. In the second and third persons, shall implies a promise, command or determination. 'You shall receive your wages, ' 'he shall receive his wages, ' imply that you or he ought to receive them; but usage gives these phrases the force of a promise in the person uttering them.

When shall is uttered with emphasis in such phrases, it expresses determination in the speaker, and implies an authority to enforce the act. 'Do you refuse to go? Does he refuse to go? But you or he shall go.'

3. Shall I go, shall he go, interrogatively, asks, for permission or direction. But shall you go, asks for information of another's intention.

4. But after another verb, shall, in the third person, simply foretells. He says that he shall leave town to-morrow. So also in the second person; you say that you shall ride to-morrow.

5. After if, and some verbs which expresscondition or supposition, shall, in all the persons, simply foretells; as,

If I shall say, or we shall say,

Thou shalt say, ye or you shall say,

He shall say, they shall say.

6. Should, in the first person, implies a conditional event. 'I should have written a letter yesterday, had I not been interrupted.' Or it expresses obligation, and that in all the persons.

I should, have paid the bill on demand; it was my duty, your duty, his duty to

Thou shouldest, pay the bill on demand, but it was not paid.

He should,

You should,

7. Should, though properly the past tense of shall, is often used to express a contingent future event; as, if it should rain to-morrow; if you should go to London next week; if he should arrive within a month. In like manner after though, grant, admit, allow.

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Word of the Day

importance

IMPORT'ANCE, n.

1. Weight; consequence; a bearing on some interest; that quality of any thing by which it may affect a measure, interest or result. The education of youth is of great importance to a free government. A religious education is of infinite importance to every human being.

2. Weight or consequence in the scale of being.

Thy own importance know.

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

3. Weight or consequence in self-estimation.

He believes himself a man of importance.

4. Thing implied; matter; subject; importunity. [In these senses, obsolete.]

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GALLSICKNESS, n. A remitting bilious fever in the Netherlands.

Noah's 1828 Dictionary

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Noah Webster, the Father of American Christian education, wrote the first American dictionary and established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading. This master linguist understood the power of words, their definitions, and the need for precise word usage in communication to maintain independence. Webster used the Bible as the foundation for his definitions.

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