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Thread: Probability

  1. #1
    Hong Kong Chinese Guest

    Default Probability

    As far as I can remember, the certainty of probability of tenses as follows:
    1. present tense
    2. present continuous tense (or auxiliary plus going)
    3. The last one, future tense

    But at Sheung Shui Railway station, a station before the border station, I have spotted on a Electronic billboard advises passengers: The last train for Lo Wu boundary crossing will depart here at 11:41pm.

    Is “will depart” the correct use of tenses? Should they use simple present tense for the verb ‘depart’ instead because the train leaves at that station at that time daily as schedule?

    If “will depart” is used, may one suspect the punctuality of the train services?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Probability

    The last train will depart (from) here at 11:41 p.m. (OK)

    The us(ag)e of 'will' refers to certainty.

    Example:

    Future simple: I will go. (a future certainty)
    Future progressive: I am going to go. (a future plan)
    Present simple: I go. (a known routine; a fact)

    Other forms:
    The last train departs (from) here at 11:41 p.m. (OK, too)

    If “will depart” is used, may one suspect the punctuality of the train services?
    More like, they are certain of its future departure. The use of the Present simple is also fine, yet in terms of how cultures, specifically Asian view punctuality, the Future simple is the better choice.

    For example, in Japan trains are punctual; You can set your watch by the train's arrival and departure time. If the Japanese train company were to use "The last train departs...", the Present simple, it implies a known fact. Now, if the train is late, the company looses face. If however the company modifies the statement to "The train will depart..." then if the train is late, it's late, because no one can predict the what's going to happen in the future. The train company saves face by using the Future simple.

    :D

  3. #3
    Hong Kong Chinese Guest

    Default Different people have different interpretation

    Casiopea, I thank you for your quick reply. Please read the reply from Simon who is a native English speaker teacher under the subject title: simple future by alien. The link is: http://www.hkedcity.net/english/meet...current_page=9. Different people have different interpretation of the simple future tense, but I trust you because, I think you are a linguist and I have chosen the right place to ask everything about English though it is a little bit late.

    Thank you!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Different people have different interpretation

    Quote Originally Posted by Hong Kong Chinese
    Casiopea, I thank you for your quick reply. Please read the reply from Simon who is a native English speaker teacher under the subject title: simple future by alien. The link is: http://www.hkedcity.net/english/meet...id=62Īt_page=9. Different people have different interpretation of the simple future tense, but I trust you because, I think you are a linguist and I have chosen the right place to ask everything about English though it is a little bit late. Thank you!
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon
    Dear Alien,
    "The last train for Lowu departs at 11pm" or "...will depart at 11pm". Either is OK, though it is probably simpler if they use "...departs at" if it is a daily timetabled event. I would think 'will depart' is used as a warning - it sounds urgent & serious in future tense. There is a certain finality about it, I suppose.
    Simon
    Seems nice. His reply is based on a supposition: what he guesses to be true, whereas my analysis is based on para-linguistic factors: how people view time.

    :D

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