LINGUIST List 13.2513

Wed Oct 2 2002

Sum: I'll shall, I'd should, I'd might, etc...

Editor for this issue: Steve Moran <>


  1. Carsten Breul, Sum: I'll shall, I'd should, I'd might etc.

Message 1: Sum: I'll shall, I'd should, I'd might etc.

Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 09:41:48 +0200
From: Carsten Breul <>
Subject: Sum: I'll shall, I'd should, I'd might etc.

The responses I have received on my query about _I'll shall_, _I'd
should_, _I'd might_ etc. (Linguist 13.2425 ; quoted in full below)
provide several interesting leads. I am going to mention some of them,
others need more time to follow up. I am grateful for every response I
have got.

Andrew McIntyre does not believe that the instances in the BNC are
transcription errors. He points out that a search of the WWW (e.g. via
Google) yields many examples of _I'll shall_. But he has never seen or
heard such examples before.

Ren� Schiering considers it possible that the phenomenon is one of
cliticisation. He proposes Zwicky, Arnold M. & Geoffrey K. Pullum 1983
("Cliticization vs. Inflection: English _n't_. _Language_ 59: 502-513)
as a discussion of the reduced form of auxiliaries as clitics.

Bruce Fraser makes the following two points. First, "The phrase 'I
shall' (by far the most common construction you cite) is now uncommon
in spoken British English, so it's possible that 'shall' is being used
as a reinforcer to the set phrase 'I'll'". Second, " In many of your
examples, there are repetitions of other words (e.g. of the verbs in 4
and 5, or the phrase itself, as 'I shan't' in 7); possible
interference from an immediately preceding construction (in 10 and
11); and other double verb constructions (in 1 and 3). It might be
possible to argue that the remaining four examples are similarly
influenced by their contexts. So I wonder whether this is a cognitive,
as much as a linguistic, phenomenon, a kind of mental 'stutter', as it
were. It would be interesting to see whether there are ANY written
examples." As regards Bruce's question about written examples of _I'll
shall_ -- there are no instances in the written part of the BNC; but
note the use of _I'll shall_ in the WWW mentioned above.

Ian Crookston reports that he has noticed the use of _had've_ and
_hadn't_ve in counterfactuals, which may be a related phenomenon. I
have found ten instances of _had've_ in the spoken part of the
BNC. Some examples are these:

(1) if that had've been Cath, that would have been a real turn up for
me wouldn't it (G4X 371)

(2) Because there were some old ones there before the young one had've
gone there do you see (HER 44)

(3) If you had've been asked would you ... (HUY 42)

(4) When I say it was a Government decision I'm not speaking
politically because whoever had've won the last election whether it be
Liberal Democrats Labour or Conservative all three parties were
committed to reorganizing local government (KM8 1004) 

(5) What if we had've won like fourteen nil (KPA 1128)

- --------
The query
- --------
Dear all

I have detected several utterances with contracted auxiliary ('ll, 'd)
+ full form auxiliary in the spoken part of the British National
Corpus (BNC). Some examples and a list of all the combinations found
and their frequencies are given below.

I have no idea what is going on here. Are these transcription errors?
(Unlikely, I would guess.) Are these slips of the tongue? Is this a
linguistically more interesting phenomenon -- such as a clitic
being/becoming an agreement suffix in the speaker's idiolect?

Although some of the combinations mentioned in the list (e.g. _I'll
can_, _I'd could_) may be instances of double modals, which are known
to be a feature of some dialects of English (e.g. Scottish), most of
them do not fall into this category.

I would be grateful for any kind of comment and, possibly,
bibliographic hints.


1. right I'll shall go and do some work in the kitchen (KB8 9563)

2. Because you're right as soon as they make noises like that I'll
shall say there is the door get on the other side of it I haven't got
time for it (KBH 6428)

3. well I'll shall have to take you out there won't I (KBL 8)

4. Hel hello Topsy hello Topsy I'll shall squeeze your feet if you do
it any more I'll shall squeeze your paws and you won't like it (KC9

5. Erm the next one we'll shall go erm go to market (F71 3)

6. I'll shan't think that you're there if you do go on (KBW 1401)

7. give me a bell I'll shan't I'll shan't be out for long (KC9 3903)

8. I'd should go too if I were you (KBW 14000)

9. Oh yes I'd should think she's only small (KCD 3579)

10. I see I'd just thought you'd might like to go (KDM 6661)

11. Okay erm I've got I just thought I'd might just let you know that
... (KLV 578 )

List of combinations and number of occurrences in the spoken part of
the BNC (only those cases are included in which the full form
auxiliary follows the contracted auxiliary uninterrupted, i.e. not
separated by comma, pause, unclear passage etc.)

I'll shall: 21
we'll shall: 2
we'll will: 2
I'll shan't: 2
I'll can: 2
he'll can't: 1
we'll would: 1
I'll won't: 1
I'll should: 1
I'll might: 1
I'll can't: 1
you'll must: 1
I'll could: 1
I'll will: 1

I'd should: 4
you'd might: 3
I'd would: 2
I'd can: 2
I'd could: 1
they'd might: 1
anybody'd would: 1
she'd might: 1
they'd may: 1
I'd must: 1
there'd ought: 1
he'd might: 1
I'd might: 1
we'd may: 1
I'd will: 1
- ------------

Dr. Carsten Breul
Universit�t Dortmund
Institut f�r Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Emil-Figge-Str. 50
44227 Dortmund
phone: (0231) 755-2898
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue