“Shall We” – Meaning & Usage (Helpful Examples)

“Shall” is a verb commonly placed before pronouns like “we” and “I.” We use it to make suggestions, but it would help us to go a little more in-depth than that. This article will look into using “shall we” and how we can make it work.

What Does “Shall We” Mean?

“Shall we” is both a question starter and a standalone phrase. We use it to suggest something for a group of people to do. “We,” in this case, refers to any number of people as long as it’s greater than one.

What Does "Shall We" Mean?

The definition of “shall,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “used, with “I” or “we,” to make a suggestion.”

“Shall we” as a standalone phrase simply means “are we all now ready to do this thing that I suggested?” or “should we proceed with the idea?”

  • Shall we?

It works as a question in itself like this, and the thing we’re asking or suggesting would already have been stated in the context.

Suggestions are made with “shall,” meaning we can use it to find out whether people want to do a thing or not. It’s like saying, “can we proceed with this” or “would you like to do that?”

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Examples Of How To Use “Shall We” In A Sentence

Some examples will help you to understand how “shall we” works. Since “shall” is a verb and it comes before the pronoun “we,” it’s clear that “shall we” is only ever correct in a question. There are no cases where “shall we” is part of a statement.

  1. Shall we dance while the music continues playing?
  2. He’s ready now. Shall we?
  3. Shall we keep going, or shall we turn back before it’s too late?
  4. Shall we continue down this path while there’s still light in the day?
  5. Shall we make sure that no one else is home before doing anything stupid?
  6. Okay, it looks like everyone’s arrived. Shall we?
  7. I’m ready after all that time! Shall we?
  8. Shall we order some food for a nice quiet evening together?
  9. I think I can hear them on the other side of this door. Shall we?
  10. Shall we go to where the rainbow meets the land and see whether we can find a pot of gold?
  11. Shall we go to the beach today?
  12. Shall we, darling?

“Shall we” is a question starter when making a suggestion about something to do (the verb will follow “shall we” in these cases). It also works as a standalone question to ask whether we’re ready to proceed with an action of some kind.

When Should I Use “So Shall We”?

“So shall we” is a little different when including “so” at the start of the phrase. It still works as a standalone idea, but “so” changes the meaning slightly.

“So shall we” is correct when a suggestion has already been made and accepted. However, the people you suggest the idea toward might not be ready to start the activity yet and might need more time to get ready or set up. We say “so shall we” to remind them.

“So” works as a way to reintroduce the idea to the group.

  • Shall we go dancing today?
  • Yes, but I need to get ready first.

This could be the first question. We then give the people time to get ready for the thing in question. After a little while, once they have finished getting ready in this context, we’ll say:

  • So shall we?

To remind them of the suggestion and clarify whether they’re ready to dive into it or not.

It helps us to politely ask whether there’s anything else the person or people might need to do. Usually, once we ask this, we’re already aware that everyone is ready and more than happy to begin. Still, it helps to ask because you never know when someone might need a little more time.

“Shall We” – Synonyms

Finally, it might help you to see some synonyms and alternatives to the question to find out what it means. If you’re not confident using it or you’d simply prefer a different option, these are the best choices for you.

  • Should we
  • Are you ready?
  • Should we proceed?
  • Do you want to begin?
  • Are you prepared?
  • May we
  • Can we