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'Shall' vs. 'Have to' in documents

Alexander Borisov


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Hello Alex,


In documents, yes, they mean the same thing. 'shall' is a lot more formal than 'have to'. That's why legal contracts often use that form.


Be careful that in less formal documents, e.g. a report, a proposal, etc. (and of course in spoken English), 'You shall do this!' sounds highly authoritative, and should be avoided except in rare cases, e.g. an angry parent speaking to a child. 

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