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  1. #1
    Cheedo is offline Newbie
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    Default Paradoxical explanation

    Hello,

    I am French and I am a young English teacher. I have a little but very annoying problem to explain to my pupils the using of the future. Why? In France, it is commonly (and only) explain to us at school that we use "will + the infinitive form" to express the idea of the future.

    ex : "I will tidy up my room next week!"

    Now, how can I properly explain to my pupils that we also use the Present progressive or the Simple Present to express the Future?

    ex : "Tomorrow, everybody is going to school" for the Present Progressive and "We leave from Gatwick at 7 tomorrow morning and we arrive at Charles de Gaulle at 9" for the Simple Present.

    It definitely sounds parodoxical for a French native speaker and it is very difficult for me to explain even if it seems easy for a native English speaker. Is anybody is able to give me an answer? Thank you very much.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Paradoxical explanation

    Do the children grasp the Historical Present, where we imagine it happening right now, in front of our eyes? The reason we use it is to add to the vividness, the immediacy of the action.
    Similarly, I hope someone will be able to explain for you and me, why we use the tenses you are enquiring about.

    As for the first, perhaps if they could imagine themselves transported into the future, and describing what they are doing or seeing. "I see all the pupils and they are all going to school." But again, as with the Present Progressive, I'm stuck trying to put into words, why?.
    I hope your post prompts a lot of responses, gets a few minds working on this one for you.

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    Default Re: Paradoxical explanation

    Unlike French, English has no true future tense. What is called the "will-future" is actually the present tense of the modal auxiliary "will".

    There are a number of different ways of expressing things that will happen in the future:

    Making predictions
    We make predictions by using a modal verb followed by the infinitive: "It will rain tomorrow." The modal verb doesn't have to be "will"; "may" and "might" are also common: "We might have a white Christmas this year." We use different modal verbs to indicate how much chance we think our prediction has of coming true: "will" is near certainty, "may" is probably about 50%, "might" is less probable than "may".

    Making promises and decisions
    We make promises and decisions by using "will": "I will send you the money tomorrow" is an example of a promise. Or a decision: when the doorbell rings, somebody might say, "I'll get it!"

    Talking about decisions that have already been made
    Once a decision has been made, we use "going to" to explain what we plan to do: "I am going to watch that TV show tomorrow." Sometimes we literally mean "going to"; for example, somebody is putting on a coat and says, "I'm going to visit Sarah..." This is very similar to the French construction with "aller" plus infinitive.

    Talking about things which are about to happen
    We also use "going to" to describe something that is about to happen. For example, we might look up at the black clouds and say, "It's going to rain."

    Talking about arrangements which have already been made
    If we have already made arrangements to do something, we use the present progressive. For example, when you have booked your flight you can say, "I am flying next Wednesday at 10.30."

    Talking about things that happen regularly
    In rare cases, we can talk about something that we know will happen because it happens regularly; most often because it's timetabled. For this we use the present simple: "We're coming by train. It arrives tomorrow at 8.45."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Paradoxical explanation

    I'm curious - In French are there any other ways of expressing the future other than using the future verb form?

    For example, in English we have lexical ways to talk about the future as well as grammatical structures: 'He was on the point of leaving...', 'The train is just about to go...'

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    Default Re: Paradoxical explanation

    Quote Originally Posted by Clare James View Post
    I'm curious - In French are there any other ways of expressing the future other than using the future verb form?
    Yes. For example, the French use "aller" ("to go") in much the same way that we use "going to": "Je vais manger" means, literally, "I am going to eat".

    For example, in English we have lexical ways to talk about the future as well as grammatical structures: 'He was on the point of leaving...', 'The train is just about to go...'
    Well, those sentences actually describe a present situation: "he is on the point of leaving" means that he has put on his coat and shoes, and is right now saying his goodbyes and preparing to leave. My French is rusty, but I seem to remember that the French construction would be "sur le point de", which would be a direct word-for-word translation of "on the point of".

  6. #6
    Cheedo is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Paradoxical explanation

    Thank you very much Rewboss for your explainations.

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