I was watching "Titans" S2E5, minute 33 in found a sentence that make me think about the shall usage.

"It is you they are looking for. But it is he they shall find."

Besides the sentence has not sense for me, I can't understand the usage of shall on that situation. Why he don't use will instead?

I guess "shall" usage is one of the hardest stuff to understand to which are learning English.

Can anyone explain me?

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    Shall is very old-fashioned and proper. Sometimes old-fashioned constructions are used to increase the formality level of speech, in order to increase the loftiness and weight of something that is being said. "It is he they shall find" sounds far more dramatic than "they will find him". Feb 2, 2020 at 6:51

1 Answer 1


This is answered in response to another question. (See, in particular, the second answer.)

"He shall" expresses more certainty than "he will." This is also true for the second person ("you shall" expresses more certainty or determination than "you will"), but is reversed for the first person -- "I will" expresses more certainty (or sometimes determination) than "I shall."

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    The construction is used for drama, not for some difference in meaning. Feb 2, 2020 at 6:53
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    That determination often is associated with causality. Shall subtly implies that there is some manipulation going on to, erm, encourage a particular result. Someone's being fitted up.
    – Phil Sweet
    Feb 2, 2020 at 12:07

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