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CURS 5 MEANS OF EXPRESSING FUTURITY If present and past situations are conceived of as facts, it is certainly not the case

of future events, which have not happened yet and therefore merely translate into potential, possible courses of action. Thus, we can predict what will happen, we can express intentions, plans, promises or threats that we mean to carry out in the future, and these situations describe our attitude towards possible, non-factual states of affairs. Therefore, it is no surprise that almost all the linguistic forms that express future time belong, in fact, to the sphere of modality or to the aspectual paradigm. Epistemic will and shall, for instance, are modal verbs denoting predictions; it is in the very nature of predictions to describe what might happen in the future, hence, they are used to express future events. Actually, all epistemic uses of the modal verbs refer to people s present attitudes with respect to the future time sphere! The meeting can / may / must / shall / will, etc. take place tomorrow. It is only natural for future events " states to have modal or aspectual implications since #we cannot be as certain of future happenings as we are of events past and present, and for this reason, even the most confident prognostication must indicate something of one spea$er s attitude and so be tinged with modality# %Ioana &tefanescu, English 'orphology II, ()**, pp. +,-.. In fact, the only linguistic form that denotes a future event and has temporal sense alone - that is, it does not reflect any attitude on the part of the spea$er - is the simple present tense combined with a future time adverbial. Apart from the simple present, there are five other linguistic forms that, beside their basic modal or aspectual /uality, contain a future time implication! (. 0resent Tense &imple -. 0resent Tense 1ontinuous +. 2e 3oing To 4. 5uture Tense &imple 6. 5uture Tense 1ontinuous 7. 5uture 0erfect %&imple and 1ontinuous. PRESENT TENSE SIMPLE As already discussed in the chapter on the values of the simple present, this tense denotes the future either in subordinate clauses of time and condition or in main clauses, being generally accompanied by a future time adverbial. The presence of the simple present instead of a will " shall construction in the subordinate is 8ustified by the fact that the situation contained in this clause is ta$en as a given fact, not as a prediction. The reasoning behind such structures would be! #If 9 is a fact, then I predict :. &imilarly, the simple present in main clauses denotes future facts, not possible future events. ;e attribute to such sentences the same degree of certainty we would attribute to present or past events. Therefore, constructions with the simple present describing a future event are restricted to certain areas, li$e statements about the calendar, programs or itineraries regarded as immutable!


hence. end. In the first example we interpret $illary as the agent who has deliberately made this plan. since they express an arrangement or an intention. go. verbs associated with announcements about timetables. in a narrative se/uence. If we consider that the simple present with future value describes a definite occasion in the future in the same way the simple past refers to a definite occasion in the past. PRESENT TENSE CONTINUOUS . committees.Tomorrow is Friday. the continuous present signals a future event anticipated by virtue of a present plan. therefore. >owever. set off. &ince such arrangements are supposed to be unalterable. it is determined by natural law. program or arrangement. The continuous present with future value is close in meaning to the going to form. depart.made by official authorities..'' tomorrow. in fact. the second example sounds absurd because the sunrise can t be planned. this does not mean that there are no present progressive sentences referring to the remote future. In contrast. The verbs that enter such constructions are generally verbs of doing . generally aiming at the near rather than the distant future. leave. "#m %oining the fire !rigade. come. (The sun is rising at &. which is. mostly in the near future. !egin.'' tomorrow to prepare !reakfast for the kids. =n the other hand. 1ompare! $illary is rising at &. and thus is always accompanied by a future time expression! - . There is an entire range of verbs commonly used in such contexts. / School starts on Monday / next week. we have an explanation for the obligatory presence of the future time adverbial in such sentences. 5uture events expressed by means of the simple present are assumed to ta$e place without fail. etc.hen used with future value. arrive. / We leave for rasov tomorrow morning. reinforced by the presence of the purpose clause to prepare brea$fast for the $ids . $e#s getting married in Septem!er. etc. When " grow up. they exist in as far as we ma$e reference to remote future events determined in advance! "#m taking Mary shopping tomorrow. while the going to form is used in a wider variety of contexts and not necessarily with a time adverbial. involving conscious human agency. it is obvious that the continuous present with future value will not combine with state verbs normally incompatible with the progressive aspect. for instance. we might say that the simple present with future value presents the highest degree of certainty as to the occurrence of a certain action in the future. it is easy to understand why they are normally collective or impersonal . a court of law. the suggestion of imminence of these constructions. schedules or organi<ed events! start. unless reference time is provided by the context %li$e. the present continuous refers only to very definite arrangements. At the same time.

going to can be used to refer to periods remote from the moment of spea$ing! " am going to !e a teacher when " grow up. The second sentence refers to an arrangement already made in the past. we employ the going to form. express their intentions. Sit down !y the fire and "#ll make you some tea. "#m going to participate in the !oard meeting tomorrow is distinct from " intend to participate in the !oard meeting tomorrow in the sense that the former has a higher degree of certainty. @ery often either of the two can be used. BE GOING TO The general meaning attached to this linguistic form is that of future fulfillment of the present . 2id you remem!er to !ook seats* / 3h tomorrow. + .uestions. It is only the second sentence that the spea$er could offer as an excuse for not 8oining a friend for a game of snoo$er. "#m going. the expectation that this will happen is stronger than in the latter. when the intention is clearly premeditated. or at least animate sub8ects endowed with will that can.)re you going to the auction tomorrow* +es. but with a slight difference in meaning. The first sentence reflects the spea$er s present state of mind and it may well be the case that ?im has no idea about the spea$er s plan. -oing to with the first meaning is restricted to human. and when it is clearly unpremeditated we use will 0 infinitive! "#ve hired a typewriter and " am going to learn to type.e should distinguish between the going to expressing intention and the will 0 infinitive construction having the same meaning. thus. Though its nature brings it closer to the idea of imminence. The $ind of verbs admitted in such structures are. that imply conscious exercise of the will.e might consider that there is a slight difference of emphasis between the two structures in a pair li$e! "#m going to have lunch with . hence the implication that both the spea$er and ?im $now about it. -oing to can be paraphrased by intend. this extends to two more specific meanings! future fulfillment of present intention and #future fulfillment of present cause . " forgot. ) lot of paint was delivered here today. "#m having lunch with . "#ll telephone for them now. )re you going to redecorate your kitchen* +ou look fro1en. and not state verbs! The detective is going to ask you a few . yet. again. What are you going to do with the money* "#ve reminded you once/ "#m not going to do it again. . verbs of doing % agentive verbs. .im tomorrow. !ut "#m not going to !uy anything.

the sub8ect can be either animate or inanimate and the expression can occur with both agentive and non-agentive " state verbs! She is going to have a !a!y next month. refusals. There#s going to !e a riot in this village. but for convenience shall and will combined with the bare infinitive are designated as future tense simple. etc. They may express the spea$er s opinions. FUTURE TENSE SIMPLE There is no future tense in modern English. hurry and eat it before it cools. etc. threats. Shall / will with predictive meaning appear in various contexts. Shall has a neutral predictive meaning only when used with the first person singular or plural! " shall never have the opportunity to thank him. therefore something that involves the spea$er s 8udgment and is directly related to the future time sphere. modal verbs that express prediction. speculations and assumptions about the future %used after verbs such as dou!t. &tudents must ta$e into account the fact that shall and will also have other modal meanings %see chapter on Modal 7er!s. expect. In American English it is used in formal contexts! We shall never surrender to the terrorists. 1ompare! The soup will cool soon. " think "#m going to cry. Shall and will are. it is easy to understand why going to refers to the immediate future and is also named #current orientation# !e going to! 4ook out5 The glass is going to fall5 % I can see it already tottering .. a sentence li$e "t#s going to rain would be uttered if the spea$er saw blac$ clouds already gathering in the gloomy s$y. in fact. they can express promises.The second meaning of going to . The soup is going to cool soon. " will know him when " see him. "t#s going to rain. 5or instance.that of future fulfillment of present cause is less restrictive both in point of sub8ect choice and choice of verb class. counseling patience.. #6urrent orientation# going to contrasts with prediction will to the extent that the going to form carries this sense of inevitability. 4 . and still refer to a future event. hope. " expect the train will !e late.. 2earing this in mind. If the first sentence ma$es a prediction.! 8erhaps "#ll find another teacher after this. Thus. think. "#m sure / " suppose they won#t agree to our pro%ect. perhaps. the second should be interpreted as a warning for the addressee to. !elieve. In all the above examples the underlying assumption is that factors already at wor$ at present are inevitably leading to a certain future state of affairs.

"#ll !e working in there next week. they simply suggest a prediction. "#d !etter move the computer in my room. they#ll !e changing the guard in a minute and you#ll get a good view. Thus. in the future. cognitive verbs. They#ll find out a!out your plans tonight. As already mentioned. it will smash into pieces. shall / will 0 infinitive does not appear without a time adverbial for obvious reasons. verbs of possession. That is why this tense has been labeled future-as-amatter-of-course ! Stand here. +ou#ll have plenty of time to finish your !ook.e. In fact. in which case the main clause contains the future structure and the subordinate employs a simple present %see chapter on the values of the simple present. future tense continuous has a special meaning that applies to a single event viewed in its entirety and not as going on at a point around which it creates a temporal frame. In this respect. Apart from these normal uses. Those verbs not normally used in the progressive will combine with the simple future! verbs of perception. Beader! The 9ueen is visiting / is going to visit the southern part of the country tomorrow. the modals in themselves do not express future time. $e#ll !e there !y tomorrow.They are also specific of sentences with subordinates of condition and time. etc. in everyday conversation the listener will use other means of expressing such future events. or to a temporary arrangement. there is no point in saying (it will rain without mentioning when it will happen. 6 . otherwise the sentence is factually empty. again in the future. FUTURE TENSE CONTINUOUS As it combines with the progressive aspect. This use eliminates any idea of intention. irds will start to sing when spring comes. volition or plan. It suggests that the event predicted by shall / will will occur independently of the will of the people involved in it as part of the ordinary course of events or as a matter of routine. this structure will naturally refer either to an activity in progress at a specific point in time %i. future tense continuous matches the patterns of the present or past continuous! This time next week "#ll !e teaching them grammar. The future simple is mainly present in newspapers and on T@ in news broadcasts when formal announcements or announcements about the weather are made.! "f " throw this plate against the wall. 3enerally. It is the adverbial that places this prediction in time. such as the going to form or the present continuous for plans! Aewspaper! The 9ueen will visit the southern part of the country tomorrow.

bearing no imposition on the part of the spea$er! Will you please take the dog out for a walk* %re/uest. The first sentence states that the lesson will begin at the time mentioned. There is a contrast between future tense continuous and present tense continuous with future value! $e is seeing the doctor tomorrow. When " get home my dog will !e sitting at the door waiting for me. while the second example implies that their meeting is part of the ordinary course of events %perhaps they wor$ or do business together. whereas the second suggests that the lesson may have already begun and is in progress at the respective time. Will you !e taking the dog out for a walk* %/uestion only. =n the other hand.e can ma$e even a further distinction between the two if we compare! "#m giving a lesson at :. Idioms 7 . The gardener won#t cut down the tree. will 0 infinitive can express an invitation.. &till."n fifty years# time we#ll !e living entirely on pills. . a re/uest or a command. "#ll !e phoning mum and "#ll tell her a!out your plans. The gardener won#t !e cutting the grass for some time. in both cases. the opposition is between a future with intention and a future without intention. violent or abnormal events.'' p. there are restrictions in the use of this linguistic form. $e says that it is perfectly all right as it is. this use has been speculated in collo/uial English with humorous or ironic effects.'' p.m. In the first sentence the spea$er announces a deliberate future action that will occur as a result of his wishes. In interrogative constructions. &ince they are more polite and more tactful and do not put pressure on the addressee. $e#ll !e seeing the doctor tomorrow. tomorrow. the use of future tense continuous renders the /uestion neutral.m. in the second example the spea$er implies that the tal$ on the phone will ta$e place either as a matter of routine or for reasons that have nothing to do with the interlocutor s plans. tomorrow. 1ompare! "#ll phone mum and tell her a!out your plans. It cannot describe sudden. &imilarly. as "#ve got a lot of other %o!s for him to do first. such structures have become more fre/uent in every day conversation. while won#t !e cutting suggests that the gardener s program re/uires otherwise. The first example suggests that he has deliberately arranged a meeting with the doctor. we can contrast future tense continuous with the will 0 infinitive construction as well as their negative counterparts. as they cannot be interpreted as part of a routine! CThe terrorists will !e killing the 8resident tomorrow. won#t cut denotes a refusal. =n the other hand. "#ll !e giving a lesson at :.

She said she would call me later that week. %continuous action. we use the progressive form! y the end of the day " will have !een working for ten hours. FUTURE PERFECT TENSE SIMPLE / CONTINUOUS These structures are used to denote future events that ta$e place before other future events or before a certain future moment.such as :ou ll be losing your head one of these days or . . it is similar to the simple E . They were leaving town the next day. 3n 3cto!er . In $e is to return to >ngland tomorrow the most li$ely meaning is that he has received explicit order to go bac$ there. are /uite common in everyday speech.. all the future time expressions are modified according to the change of context and indicate future in the past situations. but rather on the continuity of the action. This happens either in narratives or when applying indirect " reported speech rules! $e was going to tell her what we had done. to !e on the verge of / on the !rink of. y the end of the month he will have !een teaching students for a year. 3enerally. . OTHER FUTURE TIME EXPRESSIONS There are other ways of referring to the future. If !e going to is considered the most common form used to express future in the past.hen the focus does not concentrate on the result. The police will have heard of the theft !y this time. to !e a!out to and to !e due to . they occur with a time expression beginning with !y! y the end of the term " will have read all the twelve volumes.<st they will have !een married for twenty=five years. To !e to is similar in meaning to have to " ought to and describes formal arrangements made as a result of an order " command.hatever will he be doing nextD suggesting comic exasperation. %repeated action. FUTURE -IN-THE-PAST FORMS In case sentences have a past time axis. which are both formal % to !e to. of course. would is preferred in literary style. and collo/uial %to !e on the point of. 5uture perfect can also be used to express an assumption on the part of the spea$er! +ou won#t have heard the news. to !e ready to. to !e near to.hen it denotes an official arrangement or plan.

except that. To !e due to refers to scheduled times! The ceremony is due to !egin in ten minutes. unli$e the latter. The chairman of the !oard meets union officials tonight. / $is flight is due at A. To !e a!out to and to !e on the point of both refer to imminent actions and the former is used to replace the more collo/uial going to in formal contexts! " think the play is a!out to start now. it can retain its future meaning even when it is not accompanied by a future time adverbial! The chairman of the !oard is to meet union officials ?tonight@. * . / " am %ust on the point of proposing to her.present with future value.:B a.m.