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  1. #1
    mafto is offline Junior Member
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    Default Talking about the future

    I have seen in many books rules about using particular tenses and expressions for describing particular circumstances related to the future.
    E.g. the future simple when the decision is done at the time of speaking or when it is an offer (I will help you) etc.
    'Going to' when I decided before, the present continuous for thing that have been arranged before the time of speaking, the present simple for talking about events that are independent from the speaker's will - timetables, schedules, programmes...
    OK, but that's just about what particular expressions emphasise, isn't it?
    To what extent are we forced to keep to these rules? E.g. if I'm talking about a film tonight...can I say "It will start at 9 o'clock"?

    I'm a bit confused by many exercises in students books in which it seems that it is incorrect to use some other tenses and expressions.

    Thank you for helping me :)

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Talking about the future

    f I'm talking about a film tonight...can I say "It will start at 9 o'clock"?
    Sure. Or "it's going to start..." Or "the film starts at..."

  3. #3
    richardavie is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Talking about the future

    I think the problem is that there are several correct ways of saying these things and they all carry very subtle shades of meaning. My advice (and it's cold comfort) is to spend as much time as possible listening to natives and you will pick it up from the context.

  4. #4
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Talking about the future

    I agree that there can be intended shades of meaning, but in practice there often isn't. I think a lot of natives use "will" and "going to" interchangeably.

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Talking about the future

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I agree that there can be intended shades of meaning, but in practice there often isn't. I think a lot of natives use "will" and "going to" interchangeably.
    I think that in many situations it is possible for more than one way of expressing the future to be used naturally, and so I am very unhappy about the type of exercise that expects learners to 'choose the correct/best/most appropriate future form to fill in the gaps'. I also feel that, in certain situations the difference in meaning between the present progressive and the BE+going+to future is so slight as to be almost non-existent.

    However, I do not agree that will and BE+going+to are interchangeable in most situations for most speakers. Here are some more thoughts on the subject:

    Ways of Expressing the Future in English

  6. #6
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Talking about the future

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I think that in many situations it is possible for more than one way of expressing the future to be used naturally, and so I am very unhappy about the type of exercise that expects learners to 'choose the correct/best/most appropriate future form to fill in the gaps'. I also feel that, in certain situations the difference in meaning between the present progressive and the BE+going+to future is so slight as to be almost non-existent.

    However, I do not agree that will and BE+going+to are interchangeable in most situations for most speakers. Here are some more thoughts on the subject:

    Ways of Expressing the Future in English
    I'm getting a "page not found" when clicking your link.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Talking about the future

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I'm getting a "page not found" when clicking your link.
    So am I. I'll try again. Come back soon

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Talking about the future


  9. #9
    keen learner is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Talking about the future

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I think that in many situations it is possible for more than one way of expressing the future to be used naturally, and so I am very unhappy about the type of exercise that expects learners to 'choose the correct/best/most appropriate future form to fill in the gaps'. I also feel that, in certain situations the difference in meaning between the present progressive and the BE+going+to future is so slight as to be almost non-existent.

    However, I do not agree that will and BE+going+to are interchangeable in most situations for most speakers. Here are some more thoughts on the subject:

    Ways of Expressing the Future in English
    Please give some examples as to where you will use "going to" and "present continuous" to show that they mean two different things?

    " I am going to buy a new dress tomorrow."
    "I'm buying a new dress tomorrow."
    What's the difference in their meaning?
    Thanks

  10. #10
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Talking about the future

    Quote Originally Posted by keen learner View Post
    Please give some examples as to where you will use "going to" and "present continuous" to show that they mean two different things?

    " I am going to buy a new dress tomorrow."
    "I'm buying a new dress tomorrow."
    What's the difference in their meaning?
    Thanks
    I would read no difference at all in those two.

    I have said in a previous thread on this subject that I wasn't going to comment on this topic any more because I very rarely see any difference whatsoever between "going to" and "will" and the other variations. Despite that promise and just to show how similar I feel they are, as far as I'm concerned, the following sentences mean exactly the same thing:

    I'm taking my driving test on Monday.
    I'm going to take my driving test on Monday.
    I'm going to be taking my driving test on Monday.
    I'll be taking my driving test on Monday.
    I will take my driving test on Monday.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 17-Apr-2012 at 19:37.

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