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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Won't be needing vs won't need

    Hi.

    Can you help me understand the difference between the use of the future continuous and simple in these two sentences? The first one is from a kids TV show called “The legend of Korra”. One of the characters, named Kuvira, is in a hotel talking to someone in the lobby. Another character comes in; he’s a powerful prince who’s trying to impress Kuvira because he likes her. He says:


    “I’ll put in a good word for you with the hotel staff, maybe get you a little upgrade. I’ve been living here for years, they love me.”

    And she responds: “I won’t be needing your help. I’ve reserved the presidential suite.”

    Why did she use the future continuous and not the future simple? I’ve asked the same question to other people and they tell me that they have the same meaning. Then why choose one over the other?


    The second sentence is an excerpt from a book called “Feelings: an anthropologist looks at human emotions” by David Scruton, where the author invites the reader to an imaginary journey.

    "...The preparation you will need to make for this trip is very simple. You won’t need your passport. You won’t have to pack suitcases and endure long lines. The post office won’t need to hold your mail, you won’t have to put up with rude hotel clerks etc…"


    Why did the author chose the future simple? Would the meaning be different with future continuous?

  2. Senior Member
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    #2

    Re: Won't be needing vs won't need

    My inference from your examples is that the future continuous suggests a reason would/should be forthcoming, wheras the simple future does not.

  3. Newbie
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    #3

    Re: Won't be needing vs won't need

    I'm sorry but I don't understand. Can you explain it to me in simpler words?

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    #4

    Re: Won't be needing vs won't need

    In your examples use/meaning of the future continuous or simple future is similar, but with ".....won't be needing" I expect a reason to be given for not needing.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Won't be needing vs won't need

    Here's another way of looking at it:

    "I don't need" means right now:

    - Me: "It's five o'clock. Work is done. Do you want a ride home?"
    - You: "No thanks. I don't need one. I have my bike."

    "I won't be needing" means in the future:

    - Me: "Should I bring a cake to your party tomorrow?"
    - You: "No, thanks! Carl and Maria are bringing big cakes, so I won't be needing another one."

    NOTE: Sometimes we use one when the other is more grammatical. In casual conversation, it doesn't always matter.
    Last edited by GoesStation; 03-Jul-2020 at 02:14. Reason: Fix a typo.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #6

    Re: Won't be needing vs won't need

    Just to clarify Charlie's post, the use of the continuous isn't what places it in the future. It's the use of "won't", which is a contraction of "will not". The final line of dialogue in Charlie's example could just as easily have been "... so I won't need one". That still refers to the future.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Won't be needing vs won't need

    They both essentially mean the same thing.
    The subtle difference is that the use of the continuous in that kind of sentence is softer, less direct, and potentially more polite.
    This can be discerned more clearly in the interrogative form.

    For example, a hotel receptionist talking to a guest:

    Will you need a wake-up call tomorrow, madam?
    Will you be needing a wake-up call tomorrow, madam?

    The second is clearly more polite than the first.

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    #8

    Re: Won't be needing vs won't need

    The so-called 'future continuous' is sometimes used to express what has been called 'the casual future'. This lacks the ideas of certainty, volition, decision, etc, that may be suggested by the so-called 'future simple'.

    'I won't be needing one' can therefore be a simple statement about a future situation, with no implied other messages of any kind.
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