Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Feb 2014
    • Posts: 3
    #1

    A really confusing grammar rule

    I've been trying to grasp the general difference between some of the future forms and there's especially one that bothers me a lot.

    My "Practical Englis Usage" (Third Edition) by Michael Swan says:

    We use present progressive for future actions and events that have some present reality. It is most common in discussions of personal arrangements and fixed plans, when the time and place have been decided:

    What are you doing this evening? ~ I'm washing my hair.


    but


    my "A Practical English Grammar" (Fourth Edition) by A.J Thomson and A. V. Martinet says:

    The present continuous (progressive) can express a definite arrangement in the near future:

    What are you doing next Saturday? ~ I'm going to the seaside. / The neighbours are coming to watch TV. / I'm not doing anything. I'm staying at home. I'm going to write letters. (I'm writing letters... would not be possible). - but why? All the possible answers are in present progressive except the last one which "would not be possible".


    Why the discrepancy? Why is it possible to say I'm washing my hair but not I'm writing letters? After all, both actions are "personal arrangements and fxed plans, when the time and place have been decided".
    I find both my grammars excellent books but this is something I cannot fathom and (at least at this point of my English learning) it seems to me they contradict each other.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #2

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    Welcome to the forums!

    Quote Originally Posted by CFRP View Post
    my "A Practical English Grammar" (Fourth Edition) by A.J Thomson and A. V. Martinet says:

    The present continuous (progressive) can express a definite arrangement in the near future:

    What are you doing next Saturday? ~ I'm going to the seaside. / The neighbours are coming to watch TV. / I'm not doing anything. I'm staying at home. I'm going to write letters. (I'm writing letters... would not be possible). It is possible! -
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 02-Jun-2014 at 00:40.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #3

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    ? edited at 17:40

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 4,146
    #4

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    What is the editing all about??

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,912
    #5

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    Quote Originally Posted by CFRP View Post
    I've been trying to grasp the general difference between some of the future forms
    There is a lot of overlap between the future forms, where we can use more than one form. The rules are basically attempts to synthesise the reasoning behind our choices, but often that does not mean that no other form is possible.

  2. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Feb 2014
    • Posts: 3
    #6

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    Thank you for your replies! But there's still one small thing... Consider this true conversation:

    MY TEAMMATE: What are you doing on Saturday?
    ME: I'm going to repair my bike / I'm repairing my bike

    According to my grammars the first one (going to) implies that there's an intention and also some preparations have been made (= I have prepared all the necessary tools and spare parts so I am ready to start repairing my bike).
    Does the second one imply my personal arrangement, my fixed plan, when the time and place have been decided? (please note: I have decided, nobody else, this is my private plan/intention to repair the bike and be ready for a race on Sunday. No preparations habe been made so far but I am 100% sure I will be repairing my bike)
    Are both answers correct here?



    (Sorry for bold letters in "please note:...", I cannot remove this)
    Last edited by CFRP; 03-Jun-2014 at 18:29.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,512
    #7

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    (Sorry for bold letters in "please note:...", I cannot remove this)
    Click on Edit Post. Highlight the bold sentences, click on B and they should return to normal. Click Save.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 12,310
    #8

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    Quote Originally Posted by CFRP View Post
    Thank you for your replies! But there's still one small thing... Consider this true conversation:

    MY TEAMMATE: What are you doing on Saturday?
    ME: I'm going to repair my bike / I'm repairing my bike

    According to my grammars the first one (going to) implies that there's an intention and also some preparations have been made (= I have prepared all the necessary tools and spare parts so I am ready to start repairing my bike).
    Does the second one imply my personal arrangement, my fixed plan, when the time and place have been decided? (please note: I have decided, nobody else, this is my private plan/intention to repair the bike and be ready for a race on Sunday. No preparations habe been made so far but I am 100% sure I will be repairing my bike)
    Are both answers correct here?



    (Sorry for bold letters in "please note:...", I cannot remove this)
    Both forms mean the same thing to me, and neither one tells me whether you have arranged for all the tools and parts required. They both speak of plans for the day, not a state of how prepared you are to accomplish what you are planning.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,907
    #9

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    ? edited at 17:40
    I edited it because in the original, a part of the HTML was missing and the quote box did not appear. Sorry - I forgot to explain that in the "Reasons for editing" box.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,912
    #10

    Re: A really confusing grammar rule

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Both forms mean the same thing to me, and neither one tells me whether you have arranged for all the tools and parts required. They both speak of plans for the day, not a state of how prepared you are to accomplish what you are planning.
    If I'd arranged for a friend to come over and help, I'd be more likely to use the second. If I were doing it by myself, I'd probably use the first regardless of the degree of preparation.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. easy FOR. important TO- how confusing! is there any rule?
    By magdalena in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Oct-2009, 10:58
  2. [General] validity of a grammar rule
    By vil in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 12-Feb-2009, 22:29
  3. Grammar Rule
    By CarlosPerez in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-Jan-2008, 14:14
  4. obscure grammar rule?
    By nico in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Sep-2007, 16:46
  5. Grammar rule.
    By Giau Vuong in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 14-Nov-2005, 06:55

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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