Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 37
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    10
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default is there future tense in English?

    Dear Teachers

    How is tense defined? If there is no future tense in english then give me the reasons in detail and obviously with examples please.

    Khursheed Ahmad Khan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    238
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    The tense of a verb is a form that (usually) defines whether you are describing an action of the past, the present or the future.

    The reason English does not "have" a future tense is that there is no future form of the verb itself that would describe the future (as it is in, e.g. French: I will go>>J'irai)

    In English, in order to give information regarding the future, we mostly use the modal will, but not always.

    Consider:
    I will go the market tomorrow
    I'm going to the market tomorrow
    The market opens at 9:00
    I'm going to open the box
    (i.e. I will open the box)

    All of the above examples describe the future.

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,802
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by khush View Post
    Dear Teachers

    How is tense defined? If there is no future tense in english then give me the reasons in detail and obviously with examples please.

    Khursheed Ahmad Khan
    This is a matter of definition. Some say that English has no future tense because English doesn't have an inflected verb form for future. Others say the inflection is a minor matter and the English creates a future tense with "will" or "shall" instead of inflection. IMO, English has a future tense.

    For me, a tense is construction that is related to time. In English, each of the tenses can be used for a time other than that indicated by its name.

    We can, for example, indicate future time with the future tense or the present tense:

    The train is leaving very soon.
    The train will leave very soon.
    The train leaves very soon.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,554
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Language teachers use "tense" as MikeNewYork does here. Linguists use the term in a narrow sense.

    For example:

    I have seen this film before.

    A teacher would say that "have seen" is the present perfect tense. A linguist would say that it is the perfect aspect of the present tense.

    I prefer not to talk about the "future tense" in English. Linguistically there is no such thing, but also we tend to use present tenses to talk about the future.

    Here's an example of a dialogue (from a real-life TV show):

    Sarah: What are you doing?
    Doctor: I'm making a jamming detector.
    Sarah: What happens if whatever's doing the jamming jams the jamming detector?

    Notice how "jams" is a present tense but actually refers to a possible future event. (A common mistake among non-native speakers is to use "will" here, because they are taught that "will" is the future tense.)

    We have many different ways of referring to future events:

    If it is an event that is 100% definite (often because it is a regular event) which does not require any special preparation, we use the simple present: "The train arrives at 6.34 tomorrow."

    If it is part of a condition that must be met (i.e., an "if" or "when" clause), we use the simple present: "If it rains tomorrow..."

    If we are making a prediction, we use a modal verb like "will" (if we are confident), or "may", "might", "could" or "should" (if we are not so confident): "It might rain tomorrow."

    If, at the moment of speaking, we are making a decision, we use "will" or "shall": "What happens if the whatever's doing the jamming jams the jamming detector?" -- "Er... I shall build in a protective circuit."

    If the decision has already been made, but preparations have not yet been made (or preparations are unnecessary), we use "going to": "I'm going to buy a new car." "I'm going to phone her tonight."

    If the decision has already been made and all the preparations are complete, we use the present progressive: "I am flying to Corfu next week -- I have the tickets right here."

    The last two uses are sometimes confusing, and very often we can use either. But sometimes there are differences:

    "I'm going to take Jill out for a meal at her favourite restaurant." (Jill doesn't know about this yet.)

    "I'm taking Jill out for a meal at her favourite restaurant." (I've already invited Jill, and she said "Yes".)

  5. #5
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    416
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    I know this is not my thread, but I have to thank Rewboss for clarifying some of the subtle differences between different tense forms in English, especially the difference between "going to" and present progressive.

    The professor at my Linguistics class told us the same thing: there are only two tenses in English, and those are past and present. But why? modals have innate tenses and some of them have future tense in them, don't they? Sure, English has no verb inflection for future tense but does it really mean there's no future tense in English? is it an establish fact among linguists?

  6. #6
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,802
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade View Post
    I know this is not my thread, but I have to thank Rewboss for clarifying some of the subtle differences between different tense forms in English, especially the difference between "going to" and present progressive.

    The professor at my Linguistics class told us the same thing: there are only two tenses in English, and those are past and present. But why? modals have innate tenses and some of them have future tense in them, don't they? Sure, English has no verb inflection for future tense but does it really mean there's no future tense in English? is it an establish fact among linguists?
    There are no facts here; there are only viewpoints.

    If English verbs used a -will suffix for future tense, all linguists would proclaim an English future tense. The mere fact that the word "will" is separate is simply a matter of construction.

  7. #7
    riverkid is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,064
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    English has no future tense. It has many many ways to discuss the future. 'will/shall' have long been mistakenly described as the future tense for English but these are verbs of mood not tense. Both can be used in past, present and future time situations.

    In addition to Rewboss's offerings, here are a few more. Sorry if there are any repeats.

    be [just] about to
    want to
    have to
    need to
    [all the modal verbs]
    be supposed to
    intend to
    plan to

  8. #8
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,802
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    English has no future tense. It has many many ways to discuss the future. 'will/shall' have long been mistakenly described as the future tense for English but these are verbs of mood not tense. Both can be used in past, present and future time situations.

    In addition to Rewboss's offerings, here are a few more. Sorry if there are any repeats.

    be [just] about to
    want to
    have to
    need to
    [all the modal verbs]
    be supposed to
    intend to
    plan to

    And the presence of alternatives does nothing to change the future tense.
    Last edited by MikeNewYork; 27-Nov-2006 at 17:21.

  9. #9
    riverkid is offline Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3,064
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    And the presence of alternatives does nothing to change the furure tense.
    Clearly it does, Mike. It makes the traditional notion of a future tense nonsensical but typical of prescriptive grammar. Make up a rule and stick with it come hell or high water or overwhelmig proof that it's another bad 'rule'.

  10. #10
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,802
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: is there future tense in English?

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Clearly it does, Mike. It makes the traditional notion of a future tense nonsensical but typical of prescriptive grammar. Make up a rule and stick with it come hell or high water or overwhelmig proof that it's another bad 'rule'.
    I have yet to see any proof. As usual, I see nothing but opinion.

    This will be just another subject about which we will not likely agree.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. The Hidden Evidence: The Past Family
    By shun in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 143
    Last Post: 09-Nov-2003, 00:56
  2. help with tenses
    By cyrus in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 14-Oct-2003, 06:39
  3. Do we have future tense?
    By shun in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Oct-2003, 17:06

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •