• Help verb nuances

      Several English help verbs (also called auxiliary verbs) are nearly, but not entirely, synonymous. Some difficult pairs include the words shall and will, should and ought to, and must and need to. Each pair of sentences below means nearly the same thing.

      I shall write a thesis. I will write a thesis.

      I ought to write a thesis. I should write a thesis.

      I must write a thesis. I need to write a thesis.

      • shall / will

        The English help verbs shall and will in modern English are very similar, but not exactly synonymous. The word will is neutral, while shall is more formal.

        In this thesis I shall explain the differences between the competing theories.