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    #1

    present continuous tense for orders

    You're not going out until you've finished this.

    This sentence comes from Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary 6th edition. It sounds like an order. So the present continuous tense can be used to give orders in spoken English. Am I right? Grammar books seem not to mention this use of the present continuous tense.

    I was hoping a native English speaker could solve my question.

    Thank you very much in advance.

  1. #2

    Re: present continuous tense for orders

    It certainly is an order, meaning: "Don't go out until you've finished this."

    It has the form of present continuous: "are [not] going."

    But it's actually present continuous used as future, which is very common in colloquial English.

    In this case, it sounds like a person in authority is speaking, perhaps a teacher or parent. I think you'd use this structure if you were talking to a child, not to a friend or co-worker.


    regards
    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    You're not going out until you've finished this.

    This sentence comes from Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary 6th edition. It sounds like an order. So the present continuous tense can be used to give orders in spoken English. Am I right? Grammar books seem not to mention this use of the present continuous tense.

    I was hoping a native English speaker could solve my question.

    Thank you very much in advance.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #3

    Re: present continuous tense for orders

    Quote Originally Posted by baqarah131 View Post

    But it's actually present continuous used as future, which is very common in colloquial English.

    In this case, it sounds like a person in authority is speaking, perhaps a teacher or parent. I think you'd use this structure if you were talking to a child, not to a friend or co-worker.


    regards
    edward
    Hi Edward,

    Don't you think it's also possible to use with equals, though this particular collocation might be more infrequent.

    You're not wearing my sweater until you promise to return it clean.

    You're not getting another drink until you apologize to Sadie.

    You're not getting in my car until you take off those filthy boots!

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #4

    Re: present continuous tense for orders

    It's more than just an order -- it's a statement of fact: "You're not going out" doesn't just mean, "Do not go out", it means, "If you try to go out, I will prevent you".

    That's why it's usually said by somebody in authority -- somebody with the authority, that is, to prevent the person doing what he or she wants to do.

    As riverkid points out, it can sometimes be used among friends or close relatives, when it is not meant to be taken quite so seriously. However, because it can be misunderstood, I wouldn't recommend a non-native speaker use it: if you say it the wrong way, it can sound very impolite.

  3. #5

    Re: present continuous tense for orders

    Riverkid, these are good sentences, the kind of thing I'd say myself. But I think even here we've got the aspect of authority, playfully assumed among friends, in a light-hearted manner.
    Otherwise, as Rewboss points out, it would be quite rude.
    Thanks. I'd never thought about this before.

    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Hi Edward,

    Don't you think it's also possible to use with equals, though this particular collocation might be more infrequent.

    You're not wearing my sweater until you promise to return it clean.

    You're not getting another drink until you apologize to Sadie.

    You're not getting in my car until you take off those filthy boots!

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