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Shall Must Should

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Hi.

I can't remember where the paragraph on usage of 'SHALL' 'MUST'& 'SHOULD' is in

RONR. I looked in the index, the section on bylaws drafting, the section

on interpretation, I googled, but just can't find it.

Does anyone here know where in the book that paragraph is located?

Thank you

Ann

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Hi.

I can't remember where the paragraph on usage of 'SHALL' 'MUST'& 'SHOULD' is in

RONR. I looked in the index, the section on bylaws drafting, the section

on interpretation, I googled, but just can't find it.

Does anyone here know where in the book that paragraph is located?

Thank you

Ann

I don't think there is any such paragraph.

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Hi.

I can't remember where the paragraph on usage of 'SHALL' 'MUST'& 'SHOULD' is in

RONR. I looked in the index, the section on bylaws drafting, the section

on interpretation, I googled, but just can't find it.

Does anyone here know where in the book that paragraph is located?

Thank you

Ann

Except for terms that are given a particular meaning, words in RONR take their ordinary, dictionary meanings. Where there is a special definition of a word or phrase, the index will regularly give a reference to it under a sub-entry "definition" or "defined".

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Does anyone here know where in the book that paragraph is located?

It isn't in RONR. It is in most dictionaries, though. "Shall," in the context of rules or laws, means "must." For instance, see the third definition on this page. It is typically used in such contexts rather than "must."

"Should" seems like too weak of a word for most rules, but it might be appropriate in "Codes of Ethics" and similar documents.

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"Should" seems like too weak of a word for most rules, but it might be appropriate in "Codes of Ethics" and similar documents.

Generally for a Code of Ethics, "shall" would be used as it indicates conduct that will be followed (not should be followed). While ethics is always a gray area, "shall" is indicative that certain things will be done. "Should" would be weaker.

For example:

"The doctor says I should lose weight." That isn't really strong. We're told we should do a lot of things, doesn't mean much.

"I shall return." Well, that seems pretty definitive.

Of course we could go on with definitions here. And cite codes of conducts and how a change of the word from shall to should would make it far less authoritative.

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Generally for a Code of Ethics, "shall" would be used as it indicates conduct that will be followed (not should be followed). While ethics is always a gray area, "shall" is indicative that certain things will be done. "Should" would be weaker.

For example:

"The doctor says I should lose weight." That isn't really strong. We're told we should do a lot of things, doesn't mean much.

"I shall return." Well, that seems pretty definitive.

Of course we could go on with definitions here. And cite codes of conducts and how a change of the word from shall to should would make it far less authoritative.

I apparently haven't read any Codes of Ethics recently enough. :)

What I mean is that if "should" is used rather than "shall" it's really a guideline, not a rule. As you say, "should" doesn't mean much. If the assembly has any intention of enforcing the rule, "shall" is a better choice.

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I apparently haven't read any Codes of Ethics recently enough. :)

What I mean is that if "should" is used rather than "shall" it's really a guideline, not a rule. As you say, "should" doesn't mean much. If the assembly has any intention of enforcing the rule, "shall" is a better choice.

"You should not put your finger on a hot stove" tends to enforce itself. :)

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I can't remember where the paragraph on usage of 'SHALL' 'MUST'& 'SHOULD' is in

RONR.

Does anyone here know where in the book that paragraph is located?

There is nothing in RONR (10th ed. 2000) which addresses the differences in such VERBS.

Indeed, there has been a change in the last 100 years.

The verb "Will" and "Shall" used to be identical in meaning, with a change of person indicating which verb applies.

Needless to say, in 2010, that obsolete distinction, which existed in 1876 or so, no longer applies, as it is no longer being taught in schools, and no longer being used (by anyone under 100 years of age).

Bryan A. Garner covers the curious twists of "must" vs. "will" vs. "shall" in his authoritative encyclopedia of language. -- See "Garner's Modern American Usage" for what the contemporary meaning is today between "should", "shall", "may", "must", "will", etc. I recommend Garner above "Fowler's", which was based on British English, but was the cutting edge for many years.

See also E.B. White and Wm. Strunk Jr.'s "Elements of Style" for a possible mention, likewise.

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There is an article in the AIP Parliamentary Journal 1996 by the Parliamentary Opinions Committee Chaired by John D. Stackpole CPP, PRP. It is #96-408 "May", "Will", "Shall", and (improperly) "Mist" in Bylaws

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There is an article in the AIP Parliamentary Journal 1996 by the Parliamentary Opinions Committee Chaired by John D. Stackpole CPP, PRP. It is #96-408 "May", "Will", "Shall", and (improperly) "Mist" in Bylaws

Strike "Mist" and insert "Must"

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Thank you everyone, it looks like shall and must are the power words here

and I can refer to dictionaries for my purposes (bylaw interpretation)

and should avoid should.

The two verbs most often encountered in bylaws are "shall", where the action is mandatory (and typically not subject to suspension), and "may", where a power is vested but the exercise of that power is optional.

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