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  1. #31
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    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    I disagree, but I respect your opinion. Besides, this isn't exactly the only thing grammarians disagree on. As I have said in another post at some point, i won't hold my breath until they all agree and come up with one, common definition for everything

  2. #32
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    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mariner View Post
    I disagree, but I respect your opinion. Besides, this isn't exactly the only thing grammarians disagree on. As I have said in another post at some point, i won't hold my breath until they all agree and come up with one, common definition for everything
    And I respect yours.

    I think you have hit on one of the worst parts of linguistics -- definitions. It seems that academics and graduate students busy themselves with creating new terminology or redefining old terminology. Often, the principles get lost in the ensuing debate over labels.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    ESLs have for years believed that tense and time are the same.
    Actually, to a certain extent that depends on the ESL's first language and how tense is treated in that language.

    For example, German has a tense system which, superficially, resembles ours. For example, they have the "perfect tense" (which is constructed much like our present perfect) and the "preterite" (which is constructed much like our simple past), and they call these "tenses" or (to translate the German word literally) "time-forms". However, the choice between the two is not of time, but style: the perfect in speech and informal written language, the preterite for formal situations and works of fiction. And what they call their "future tense" (constructed with a modal auxiliary) is used not specifically for future events, but for suppositions and predictions. They usually use the present tense to refer to future events. So Germans are at least subconsciously aware of the difference between tense and time -- it just needs to be pointed out to them.

    Taking a slightly different language, Russian uses an entirely different system. Most Russian verbs come in aspect pairs: one member of the pair is the perfective aspect, the other is the imperfective aspect. They use the present tense of the imperfective verb to refer to the present, and the present tense of the perfective verb to refer to the future.

    The key to teaching ESLs is to be flexible in your approach and adapt it to individual needs. Different students will have different ways of looking at the same thing, and in my experience they're more likely to grasp a concept if you can find a way of explaining it in terms they are familiar with: "You know how, in German, you often use the future tense to talk about the present? Well, it's a bit like that in English -- just because the textbooks call it the 'future tense' doesn't mean it's always about the future."

    I often do make the point that, strictly speaking, English doesn't have such a thing as a "future tense" (and neither, I point out, does German). However, I have found that I then generally have to launch into a lengthy discourse on what a "tense" is and why I am disagreeing with every single text book, dictionary and grammar reference they have ever read -- and for beginners and pre-intermediates I have discovered that this usually confuses them even more.

  4. #34
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    And I agree. But the overwhelming percentage of meanings of "will + verb" refers to things that have not yet happened (and that doesn't refer to speculation or hypothesis). This is why the future tense was originally called that. I see no change in that.
    Can you provide sources that support the contention I've marked in red, Mike?

  5. #35
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    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Can you provide sources that support the contention I've marked in red, Mike?
    Personal observation.

  6. #36
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mariner View Post
    I disagree, but I respect your opinion. Besides, this isn't exactly the only thing grammarians disagree on. As I have said in another post at some point, i won't hold my breath until they all agree and come up with one, common definition for everything
    Or anything?

  7. #37
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Or anything?

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