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    #1

    Why do we fear the future perfect?

    Many native speakers will do anything in order to avoid the future perfect.

    Would you please tell me how I could express the meaning of the following sentence without using the future perfect:

    Come December, I will (shall) have been a member of usingenglish. com for two years.


    THANK YOU

  1. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    In December it's going to be 2 years since I joined usingenglish.com.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    December will mark my two-year anniversary at UsingEnglish.com.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    Thank you very much, Teacher Bennevis and Moderator Barb, for your very helpful suggestions.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    However, I don't run from a structure like the one you suggested. Do you find it unnatural?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    However, I don't run from a structure like the one you suggested.
    Neither do I. I think theParser's sentence is an example of when the so-called future perfect is the ideal, natural form.

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    #7

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Do you find it unnatural?

    Thank you, Moderator Barb, for your question. Personally, I find the future perfect

    easier than trying to find a way around it. I have read, however, that some native

    speakers go their whole lives without ever having to use it (perhaps that is an

    exaggeration). Professor George O. Curme writes that Shakespeare never used it

    and that it is a relatively new construction that has never become really popular. Thus,

    people express the idea through the kind of sentences that you and Teacher Bennevis

    kindly gave me. As Teacher 5jj implied, it might be more natural to say "I will have that

    work finished by 5 p.m." than "I will have finished that work by 5 p.m." Since I am not

    that confident about my grasp of grammar, I simply use the future perfect -- whether

    or not it sounds natural. Of course, professional writers, such as you, know when to

    use it and when not to.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    As Teacher 5jj implied, it might be more natural to say "I will have that work finished by 5 p.m." than "I will have finished that work by 5 p.m."
    No I didn't. I said that your original sentence, , "I will (shall) have been a member of usingenglish. com for two years", was an example of a natural use of the so-called future perfect. "I will have finished that work by 5 p.m" is also natural, though there is not a great deal of difference in meaning between that and "I will finish that work by 5 p.m". The 'future perfect version has perhaps more of a 'before 5pm' idea than the other.

    "I will have that work finished by 5 p.m" is not a 'future perfect' form. It is what some would call a 'future simple' version of 'have (something done)'. It means roughly the same as "I will ensure that the work is finished by 5pm'.

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    #9

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    No I didn't. I said that your original sentence, , "I will (shall) have been a member of usingenglish. com for two years", was an example of a natural use of the so-called future perfect. "I will have finished that work by 5 p.m" is also natural, though there is not a great deal of difference in meaning between that and "I will finish that work by 5 p.m". The 'future perfect version has perhaps more of a 'before 5pm' idea than the other.

    "I will have that work finished by 5 p.m" is not a 'future perfect' form. It is what some would call a 'future simple' version of 'have (something done)'. It means roughly the same as "I will ensure that the work is finished by 5pm'.

    Excuse me, Moderator 5jj, for not expressing myself clearly. What I was trying to say

    is that sometimes (as you did say) the future perfect is natural. I then tried (without

    doing a very good job) to say that some speakers would feel that "I will have that work

    finished by 5 p.m." sounds more natural than "I will have finished that work by 5 p.m."

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Why do we fear the future perfect?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    What I was trying to say is that sometimes (as you did say) the future perfect is natural. I then tried [...] to say that some speakers would feel that "I will have that work finished by 5 p.m." sounds more natural than "I will have finished that work by 5 p.m."
    I can't argue with that. Some people might well feel that.

    As it happens, I don't. My personal opinion is that the two sentences convey slightly different meanings. For me, "I will have finished that work by X" is a moderately neutral way of expressing the speaker's certainty about the completedness of an action at or before a stated time. "I will have that work finished" suggests two possibilities, which the context will almost certainly make clear:

    "I will ensure (so not 'moderately neutral') that I finish the work.
    "I will ensure (so not 'moderately neutral') that somebody else finishes the work.

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