will help/are helping/are going to help

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joham

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--What are the boys and girls doing?
--They______for the bus. They________the farmers pick apples.
A are waiting ;are helping B will wait;help
C wait ;will help D are waiting;will help

The given answer is D.

How would the test question sound to native speakers? Would it be better for the second person to answer 'They're waiting for the bus. They're going to help the farmers pick apples' or 'They're waiting for the bus. They're helping the farmers pick apples this afternoon (with the time adverbial we use the present continuous)'?
 

Barb_D

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I assume that the bus will take them to the farm, so the apple-picking is in the future.

There's not much difference between "they're going to help" and "they will help" -- except that "going to help" isn't one of the choices. So D is fine.
 

SoothingDave

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"A" seems a plausible answer to me.
 

5jj

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D is acceptable, but I prefer A.
 

Barb_D

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I prefer D because, while as we know, the progressive can be used for the future, the first part (they are waiting for the bus) is right now, not future. I find it confusing to mix the progressive-for-current and progress-for-future in the same utterance.

My real preference would be "are going to" for the second part, but that's not an option.
 

SoothingDave

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If the getting on the bus is a part of the process of their helping the farmers, then it is not future, but present. They are helping the farmers pick apples, and the first step is waiting for the bus to take them there.
 

bhaisahab

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I prefer D because, while as we know, the progressive can be used for the future, the first part (they are waiting for the bus) is right now, not future. I find it confusing to mix the progressive-for-current and progress-for-future in the same utterance.

My real preference would be "are going to" for the second part, but that's not an option.

I agree, I would much prefer it with "are going to". But of the available options I prefer A.
 

5jj

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The question is poor - like so many on ways of expressing the future.
 
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