Do we have future tense?

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Oct 7, 2003
Do we have Future Tense?

Interesting enough, in grammar books for young students, it is general idea that we have Future Tense, especially by SHALL and WILL. However, when students have evolved to linguists or deep thinkers, they take it for granted that there is no Future Tense:

Ex: the authors state: "...there is no future tense in English... there are two tenses in English: present and past. ...but nothing that we can describe as future tense" thus repeating the well known point of view formulated by O. Jespersen and other representatives of American Descriptive Linguistics.

Ex: “Consequently, there is no future tense in English, even though there are, of course, many different ways in which we can talk about the future time:”

Actually, I want to make clear what is the general idea of English native speakers about Future Tense. Is there Future Tense or not? How to prove we have or have not Future Tense?

[Edited to create hyperlinks--RonBee]


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Nov 13, 2002
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It's a very difficult subject. I, for one, do not believe we have a future tense, but many disagree and claim 'will' is the future tense.

The way to prove it is through demonstrating that it is not inflected like the opast tense usually is, there are many other ways of talking about the future and 'will' doesn't always serve to indicate the future. However, having been through and seen this argument time and time again, I think of it as more a question of faith\belief, rather than logic. ;-)
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