UPSC Chairman ordered to be chief guest

Half-page advertisement in Times of India states: “Prof. (Dr.) D.P. Agrawal, Chairman, Union Public Service Commission, shall be the chief guest. Prof. (Dr.) K. Srinath Reddy, President, National Board of Examinations, will confer Diplomate National Board (DNB) & Fellow National Board (FNB)” in National Board of Examinations 18th Convocation.

My English teacher taught a rule: Use shall in the first person and will in the second and third persons for simple future tense. In first person usage, if you want to make a promise, then use will. To order a second or third person use shall.

“I will blog on this,” is not as binding on me as “I shall blog on this.”

Used with second or third person, shall is an order or contractual obligation while will (derived from wish) is the normal, polite form. If a teacher tells her student, “You shall complete this assignment by 9 p.m.” she tells that the student must complete the assignment. The distinction is very important in legal, medical and contractual documents. Using “shall” creates a legal requirement or duty, while using “will” doesn’t.

shall = you must; and will = you may.

A joke I read: A foreign tourist was swimming in an English lake. Taken by cramps, he began to sink. He called out for help: “Attention! Attention! I will drown and no one shall save me!” Many people were within earshot, but, being well-brought up Englishmen and women, they honored his wishes and permitted him to drown.

Is Prof. (Dr.) D.P. Agrawal being ordered to be the chief guest while it is a wish of Prof. (Dr.) K. Srinath Reddy to confer the honours on students?

Times of India, with about 7.5 million readers, cannot say that its readers shall not pick up wrong grammar. I hope they will not.


About pgbhat

A retired Naval Officer and an educationist. Has experience with software industry. A guest faculty at different institutes and a corporate trainer with software development companies.
This entry was posted in Language. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to UPSC Chairman ordered to be chief guest

  1. nageshramiah says:

    Well said PG. I just saw a video posted by Vicky Bhardwaj on FB about how teachers in Bihar schools teach English – ex. Apple = Apil!


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