9

What does it mean and where would I use it?

14

If you are in a situation where a group is gathering to do something (go out for lunch, start a meeting, etc.), "Shall we?" would mean something like "Are we now all ready and is it now time to proceed with what we are here for?". (Or more simply, "Should we now proceed?", but that explains "shall" in terms of "should".)

2
  • and it doesn't suppose to have a reply, right?
    – Pablo
    Oct 2 '10 at 13:44
  • 10
    If someone says "shall we?", the usual response in my area of New England is actually "we shall" or just "let's".
    – Jon Purdy
    Oct 2 '10 at 14:58
5

Shall is used in questions indicating offers or suggestions.

Shall I send you the book?

Shall we go?

3
  • According to OED.
    – Noah
    Aug 18 '12 at 16:02
  • According to NOAD.
    – apaderno
    Aug 18 '12 at 19:55
  • According to both:)
    – Noah
    Aug 19 '12 at 2:19
1

Shall we is a polite expression for Let’s go. A Spanish equivalent would be Vámanos.

1
  • I would add the adjective, deferential, as well. And, indeed, the interrogative (in contradiction of "Parts of Speech"), has been transformed by the asking (by the pretense) into an imperative.
    – lex
    Oct 17 '12 at 19:01

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