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  1. AlJapone's Avatar
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    #1

    Will you be needing a receipt?

    Dear Teachers.

    I sometimes come across sentences in which verbs that refer to some mental state, not action, (verbs such as want, believe, need,) are used in the progressive form. I supposed that this kind of expression suggested its users' ardentness or, sometimes, even desperation by device of its slightly ungrammatical nature.


    "Will you be needing a receipt?"
    I read that this is a common phrase. Given that it is spoken to a customer by a salesclark, I believe that it has to imply some politeness; however, I cannot find any grammatical elements which would contribute to the effect. (Yes, I will be being desperate due to absence of the receipt. You hit the bull's eye!)

    Now I know I am misunderstanding something here. But I do not know what it is. Please point out my misconceptions and help me to grasp the way the mental-state verbs in the progressive form work.
    Best wishes,


    AlJapone

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    #2

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    To me, it suggests that they might not give a receipt automatically, so they're asking that way as writing or issuing a receipt is not the ordinary pattern. For instance, taxi drivers in the UK, who don't normally give receipts but will for people who need to submit a claim, sometimes ask this.

  2. AlJapone's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    To me, it suggests that they might not give a receipt automatically, so they're asking that way as writing or issuing a receipt is not the ordinary pattern. For instance, taxi drivers in the UK, who don't normally give receipts but will for people who need to submit a claim, sometimes ask this.
    Thank you for the reply based on your experience, Tdol.
    I understood your post as follows:
    Since the receipt had not exsisted in this world when the sentence was uttered, the verb "need" was used by a clark to decide whether to issue the receipt or not.
    And I agree with you.

    But I do not know why the verb need is in the progressive form. What advantage does it bring you? Is it not good enough to say simply, "would you like to keep your receipt?" (I do not know if this phrasing sounds natural or appropriate, but it has nothing to do with my point, I think.)

    When mental-state verbs are used in the progressive form, how do you feel? Do implications change along with whether the subject is 1st-person or 2nd or 3rd? Is it really ungrammatical?
    Or, the speaker in my example is merely showing some sympathy perfunctorily and that's all; therefore, I'm just seeing problems that don't exist. Is this the case?

    I would appreciate any opinion. Please let me share in your experiences.

    Best wishes,


    AlJapone
    Last edited by AlJapone; 01-Jan-2011 at 17:40.

  3. AlJapone's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter
    In my experience, a clerk will ask this question in two cases - when the clerk doesn't really want to produce a receipt and when a clerk is not sure if the customer desires a receipt.
    I find your illustration of how 'want' and 'need' work highly useful. Thank you.
    When it comes to the alternatives in the above quote, fairly safely, I believe, we can choose the latter one, which additionaly, is what I had in mind while writing my last post.
    I think that we agree on this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter
    The customer can't keep the receipt because it has not been issued yet.
    Yes, you are right.
    However, considering that a customer does not nessesarily know the fact, is it not possible for the clark to use 'keep' pretending as if he has the one? Is it absolutely nessesary that the customer has already got the receipt physically?
    Whatever, this is what I had thought.

    [AlJapone asks,] Is it really ungrammatical?
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter
    Please provide some examples.
    I have no authority of whatever kind behind me; here I can only provide an excerpt from one online site.

    Quote:
    Group II Non-Continuous Verbs
    The second group, called "Non-Continuous Verbs," is smaller. These verbs are usually things you cannot see somebody doing. These verbs are rarely used in continuous tenses. They include:
    Abstract Verbs
    to be, to want, to cost, to seem, to need, to care, to contain, to owe, to exist...
    Possession Verbs
    to possess, to own, to belong...
    Emotion Verbs
    to like, to love, to hate, to dislike, to fear, to envy, to mind...
    Examples:
    He is needing help now. Not Correct
    He needs help now. Correct
    He is wanting a drink now. Not Correct
    He wants a drink now. Correct
    Unquote. Quoted from ENGLISH PAGE - Types of Verbs

    "These verbs are 'rarely' used in continuous tenses."
    I admit 'ungrammatical' was a wrong word. I apologize.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter
    It could be that the clerk is being polite or following company policy, sympathy probably wouldn't enter into this.
    That I brought up sympathy was just my wild guess, and I guess I failed to guess well.
    So, it seems to me that you think the politeness here conveys no emotional tone.
    Is it right?

    therefore, I[AlJapone]'m just seeing problems that don't exist
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter
    (I believe so).
    I am fully prepared to accept this kind of answer, but still not convinced.
    (I know that the phrase in the thread title is a common one, in other words, that it sounds natural and triggers no suspicion on the native speakers part. but I just want some ...footings to help me to reach at some kind of intuitive understanding.)
    Best wishes,


    AlJapone
    Last edited by AlJapone; 01-Jan-2011 at 23:52.

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    #5

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlJapone View Post
    I find your illustration of how 'want' and 'need' work highly useful. Thank you.
    When it comes to the alternatives in the above quote, fairly safely, I believe, we can choose the latter one, which additionaly, is what I had in mind while writing my last post.
    I think that we agree on this point.

    This assumption is not correct to me- they are real alternatives offered- with trades where cash is often used, people often don't want to issue receipts because the fewer receipts issued, the more they can get away with on their tax returns. This question would not bbe asked for a till receipt, but to avoid completing a proper receipt that the buyer could submit to their company, tax authority, etc. The progressive shows that a) the issuing is not normal practice and/or something the seller would rather not do, and suggests that the obligation (if it exists) would come from an external source ad not be a whim of the client.

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    #6

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlJapone View Post
    However, considering that a customer does not nessesarily know the fact, is it not possible for the clark to use 'keep' pretending as if he has the one? Is it absolutely nessesary that the customer has already got the receipt physically?
    The customer would know from the question that no receipt has been issued. It's not a pretence- the receipt requires an operation separate from the one that comes from the cash register. If the receipt that came from the cash register had all the information required, this question would not be asked.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlJapone View Post
    Dear Teachers.

    I sometimes come across sentences in which verbs that refer to some mental state, not action, (verbs such as want, believe, need,) are used in the progressive form. I supposed that this kind of expression suggested its users' ardentness or, sometimes, even desperation by device of its slightly ungrammatical nature.


    "Will you be needing a receipt?"
    I read that this is a common phrase. Given that it is spoken to a customer by a salesclark, I believe that it has to imply some politeness; however, I cannot find any grammatical elements which would contribute to the effect. (Yes, I will be being desperate due to absence of the receipt. You hit the bull's eye!)

    Now I know I am misunderstanding something here. But I do not know what it is. Please point out my misconceptions and help me to grasp the way the mental-state verbs in the progressive form work.
    Best wishes,


    AlJapone
    You seem to be concerned with the progressive form and politeness.
    The salesperson could say "Do you need a receipt?"
    But, "Will you be needing a receipt?" has a meaning quite apart from any politeness function that, say, "Will you be wanting fries with that?" might have.
    The person does not need a receipt now, but they might when they fill out their tax return in six months time. So, there's a natural reason to use a future progressive here which does not exist in the fries example - which must serve some other function, perhaps politeness.

  5. AlJapone's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The progressive shows that a) the issuing is not normal practice and/or something the seller would rather not do, and suggests that the obligation (if it exists) would come from an external source ad not be a whim of the client.
    I understood the above paragraph as follows:
    Mental-state verbs in the progressive impliy two thing, namely exceptionality and existance of external cause.

    An external event is causing changes of the subject's mental state in non-essential and possibly temporal way; much in the way that a stone thrown in makes the surface of a pond to ripple.

    I am feeling I see the whole thing in a different and better light thanks to your exceptionaly powerful enlightning posts. Thank you.

    I'm loving them.


    Aljapone

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    #9

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlJapone View Post
    I understood the above paragraph as follows:
    Mental-state verbs in the progressive impliy two thing, namely exceptionality and existance of external cause.
    In this case- don't take this as a pattern for all such usage- we're looking at one question asked in a particular context.

  6. AlJapone's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Will you be needing a receipt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The salesperson could say "Do you need a receipt?"
    But, "Will you be needing a receipt?" has a meaning quite apart from any politeness function [,which might exist.] (...)
    The person does not need a receipt now, but they might when they fill out their tax return in six months time.So, there's a natural reason to use a future progressive here
    I feel you pointed out something very important, but I cannot put my finger on it quite well.

    My tentative understanding is that the future progressive completely closes out volitional interpretation of 'will' as opposed to the simple future, independently from the fact that the verb 'need' is, in the first place, fairly unrelated with an individual's will, (possiblely with his aim only indirectly).
    By the way, my concern in my first post was about the progressive of a certain loosely defined groupe of verbs that usually refer to the state of mind, rather than its action.

    But I guess my choice of the example and the 'need' in it made a matter unnessesarily complicated. But in the end, due to the fact, I ended up lerning much more. So, I guess I shouldn't complain. Thank you, Raymott and everyone.
    Best wishes,


    AlJapone

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