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    #1

    Perfect tenses

    Hi,

    What would be the correct tense(s) to express the followings?

    I'm flying to Rome next Friday. I'm a little worried because it / that (?) will be the first time I will fly / will be flying / will have flown.

    What would be the first choice of a native speaker?

    Thank you for your help.

    Bye,
    Henry

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Smile Re: Perfect tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by henryh View Post
    Hi,

    What would be the correct tense(s) to express the followings?

    I'm flying to Rome next Friday. I'm a little worried because it / that (?) will be the first time I will fly / will be flying / will have flown.

    What would be the first choice of a native speaker?

    Thank you for your help.

    Bye,
    Henry
    Normally, you might say:
    I'm a little nervous because it will be the first time I have flown.


  2. Lesttat's Avatar

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
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    #3

    Smile Re: Perfect tenses

    hi Henryh

    grammatically speaking

    I'm flying to Rome next Friday. I'm a little worried because it is the first time I fly .

    the second action is a general truth, so the present simple is the requird tense in such case

    Lesttat !


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    #4

    Re: Perfect tenses

    Hi Henryh,

    I would use the perfect in your sentence: (it will be the first time I will have flown) or 'it will be the first time I will be flying'.

    Take care,

    Palinkasocsi
    Last edited by palinkasocsi; 10-Mar-2009 at 21:28.


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    #5

    Re: Perfect tenses

    Hmm. Two different opinions. Here's mine:

    I'm flying to Rome next Friday. I'm a little nervous because it will be first time I have been on a plane.

    (The use of 'flown,' without further elaboration as in, "flown on such a small plane"/"flown since the near-crash I was in on Harum-Scarum Airlines", is not as colloquial and sounds odd.)

    Why Future for 'will be', and then Present Perfect "have been'?
    With a toss-up between 'it's the first time...' and 'it will/it'll be the first time', why the latter (at least, for me ?

    Anyone want to join in teasing this one out?
    Last edited by David L.; 10-Mar-2009 at 22:14.

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    #6

    Re: Perfect tenses

    Thank you for your comments.

    The reason I thought it must be Future Perfect is the following:

    This is the first time I've been on a plane.
    It was the first time I had been on a plane.

    So, thinking logically, I thought the same applied to the future.

    It will be the first time I will have been on a plane.

    If the first two sentences are accepted as correct why do we say a sentence like,

    It will be the first time I have been on a plane?

    What do you say?

    Regards,

    Henry


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    #7

    Re: Perfect tenses

    Good logic!
    It's whether, though, rather than emulating Mr. Spock*, humans look at a situation very subjectively. To show what I mean, let's look at your first two sentences:
    This is the first time I've been on a plane.
    It was the first time I had been on a plane.

    What is the subjective view of the situation if a speaker says, This is the first time I've been on a plane.
    "I" have used the Simple Present tense, but since it is a first time event, I am not stating some 'universal truth or fact' , as in, "I fly to Rome on Thursdays, for business meetings with our Italian subsidiaries."
    So - my perspective must be that this is a current action/event. Hence, I must view this 'first-time' event as happening NOW. Perhaps I say it to the taxi driver on the way to the airport or someone on the plane. This statement in this tense form is valid until I view myself has having arrived, that is, I've already now 'flown to some place'. The use of the Present Perfect tense form is in accord with the idea that this action is occurring over a period of time, from leaving home, to landing.

    Once you land, then this 'first time event' is over, completed, and is now behind you. The sentence:
    It was the first time I had been on a plane.
    correctly moves it all into the correct past tense forms of the verbs.

    Let's look at your next sentence:
    It will be the first time I will have been on a plane.


    ...............NOW as I speak...........>...................on the plane, flying
    As you speak, you view the event as remote from your present activities - it is a future activity/event. BUT..
    It(flying)...(flying will) be= when it actually happens and I am on the plane - when I am experiencing this...
    Suddenly, the point of reference has moved, and we have a new NOW and the event happens/is unfolding, whether you are on the way to the airport or on the plane. To then say, 'will have been' is to have the perspective in the airport, or waiting in the departure lounge, that the event is still remote, distant - as if, until you are actually on the plane...or more, have actually landed, this is still all some future event to you. This would not be a speaker's usual subjective perspective on the situation.
    (And it's so alien to my perspective, I've unconsciously shifted from a first-person reference, "I", to distancing myself and making it some other "you"!)

    And that's why, to my mind and in my opinion, we would say:
    It will be the first time I have been on a plane.

    * Ask if you don't understand this TV-culture reference. Or am I thinking of the alien who could only think logically, without emotion, on Star Trek with Patrick Stewart as the commander?
    I'm more a The Closer fan.
    Last edited by David L.; 11-Mar-2009 at 20:08.

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