Q #109: Dear friend.First, congratulations, your homepage is excellent. My name is Leo and I don't know the difference between:1) Present continuous used as future? Ex: I'm travelling tomorrow.2) Simple present used as future? Ex: The plane leaves at 5 o'clock.3) Future with "will"4) Future with "going to".Could you send me an e-mail with the complete rules about these four kinds of future. Could you help me? Thanks, Leo Garbarski, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil <leog*zaz.com.br> June 7, 98. A: Dear Leo,Thank you for visiting our site and for your nice words.As in Portuguese, in English you can use the simple present and the present continuous to express future ideas. The present continuous may be used to express future time when the idea of the sentence concerns a planned event or definite intention. Examples:
Verbs like rain or get sick, for example, could not be used in the present continuous to indicate future action because rain and get sick are not planned events. A future meaning for the present continuous is indicated either by future time words in the sentence or by the context. The simple present is another verb tense that can be used to express future time in sentences that concern events that are on a definite and regular schedule or timetable. These sentences usually contain future time words. Only a few verbs are normally used this way: open, close, begin, end, start, finish, arrive, leave, come, return. Examples:
- Mary has an appointment with a doctor. She is seeing Dr. Smith next Wednesday.
Pete has already made plans. He is leaving at noon tomorrow.
What are you going to do this afternoon? After lunch I am meeting a friend of mine. We are going shopping.
- The museum opens at ten tomorrow.
Classes begin next week.
The plane leaves at 6 P.M. tomorrow.
In the situations we use the simple present with the meaning of future, we can also use the present continuous. Ex:
- The boys start school on Monday. = The boys are starting school on Monday.
I leave tonight. = I'm leaving tonight.
The differences between them could be explained as follows:
a) The simple present sounds more impersonal than the continuous. I'm leaving tonight would probably imply that I have decided to leave, but I leave tonight could mean that this is part of a plan not necessarily made by me.
b) The simple present can also sound more formal than the continuous. A big store planning to open a new branch is more likely to say Our new branch opens next week than Our new branch is opening next week.c) The simple present is sometimes used where the continuous would sound a bit clumsy, for example when speaking of a series of proposed future actions, like plans for a journey:
sounds better than:
- We leave at six, arrive in Porto Alegre at eight and take the plane at nine o'clock.
Note, however, that in a sentence such as My train leaves at six we are using the simple present for a habitual action. Here, therefore, the simple present is not replaceable by the continuous.
- We are leaving at six, arriving in Porto Alegre at eight and taking the plane at nine o'clock.
WILL x BE GOING TO: 1) To express a prediction, either one can be used. (Para prever algo que venha a acontecer no futuro, as duas formas podem ser usadas.)Ex: According to the weather report, it will rain tomorrow. / According to the weather report, it's going to rain tomorrow.
Be careful! You'll hurt yourself! / Be careful! You're going to hurt yourself! 2) To express a prior plan, only BE GOING TO should be used. (Para nos referirmos a uma ação futura, porém como resultado de um plano preestabelecido.)Ex: Why did you buy this paint? I'm going to paint my bedroom tomorrow.
Are you busy this evening? Yes. I'm going to meet John at the library. We're going to study. 3) To express willingness and intention at the moment of decision, only WILL should be used. (Para nos referirmos a uma ação futura resultante de nossa predisposição, no momento em tomamos a decisão.)Ex: The phone's ringing. I'll get it.
If you don't understand, ask your teacher. He'll help you.
Speaking to a waiter: - I'll have a beer, please.