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  1. #1
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    Default Future simple/continuous - predictions

    1. Is there any difference in meaning between these two tense forms in the following sentence? (I assume both are correct).
    'In 50 years' time people will live/be living much longer.'

    2. Why is only the continuous form correct in this sentence (according to a coursebook)?
    ' By the middle of this century, we will all be living much longer as a matter of course.'
    Does the expression ' as a matter of course' determine the tense form?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Future simple/continuous - predictions

    It depends whether the speaker is referring to a single point in time, or a duration of time.

    Take the second sentence:
    ' By the middle of this century, we will all be living much longer as a matter of course.'
    There is an actuarial life expectancy, the average that men and women currently live. Each year, if we calculate this average, the sentence implies that over time, any fluctuations (eg in 2001 : 70.5 years /in 2002 : 70.4 years/ in 2003 : 70.5 years/ in 2010 : 70.9 years/ in 2015 : 71.1 years) will have evened out and a steady increase can be detected. Even though some people will still die younger than this, on the whole, some procedure, some new drug, may have given them a few extra years, so that even they lived longer than they would have. We are considering all of this over a period of time, the ongoing process of still being alive, of living. And in the middle of the century, we pause to look back at the actuarial figures, and predict what they mean for the future of those who are just children in 2050, and can say, we have lived longer than expected, and our children can be expected to live longer lives - in effect, we are all living (on average) longer lives.
    If then we substitute, 'we all live longer lives'. YES - at that point where we paused in 2050, we can say that of those who by 2000 standards should be dead (not of those younger than the average life expectancy) 'we have (at this very moment) lived longer lives than we could have expected in 2000 (and predict the same will be our children's experience at some future point in time.)
    SO:
    ' By the middle of this century, we will all be living much longer as a matter of course.'
    The speaker is referring to this ongoing process of living.
    ' By the middle of this century, we will all live much longer as a matter of course.'
    This implies, suddenly, in the middle of the century, (not as some gradual process over the years), a great change occurs, and from that moment on, our lives will be longer. This is not the intended meaning of the sentence.
    Last edited by David L.; 27-May-2008 at 07:05.

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