future tense

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jullianus, May 3, 2012.

  1. jullianus Senior Member

    Korean
    Hellow~

    When I change a simple sentense into a complex sentense, I don't know whether I shoud use future tense in a subordinate clasue.

    for example,

    I am sure of his winning the game.

    (a). I am sure that he wins the game.

    (b). I am sure that he will win the game.


    I have hope of going to the university.

    (a). I have hope that I go to the university.

    (b). I have hope that I will go to the university.


    which one is gramatically correct? or Are all the sentences used with the same meaning in common life ?
     
  2. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Um... I don't think there's an answer here. It totally depends on what the meaning is. Almost any tense could be in that clause, but they're certainly not equivalent to each other.

    PAST:

    I'm sure that he won the game. (The game was last week and we're arguing about who won it. You think it was her, I think it was him. The tense is past because the event was in the past.)

    PRESENT:

    I'm sure that he wins the game. (We're discussing a novel that we both read a few years ago. In the final scene, the hero has to play a game. You think that he loses the game, I think that he wins the game. The tense is present because the event is in the literary present.)

    FUTURE:

    I'm sure that he will win the game. (Probably the most common: we're rooting for him in next Tuesday's big game. I'm certain that he will win the game on that future date. The tense is future because the event is in the future.)

    All of these could be transcribed by "I'm sure of his winning the game." But in everyday speech, I think we would prefer a clause that gives more information (because the verb has a tense) to a sentence like that that gives very little information.
     
  3. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    I don't agree with lucas-sp that we could use these sentences in all of those ways in normal English. Both I am sure of his winning the game and I have hope of going to the university refer to future events and it would be abnormal to use them to refer to the past or the present. That is especially true of I have hope of going to the university which cannot possibly refer to past or present events - going to university must be in the future as a hope refers to something that has yet to happen.

    An argument could be made to use I am sure of his winning the game to refer to a time-frame other than the future, but that would not, to my mind, be natural English.

    PS More idiomatic - I have hopes ...
     
  4. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Well, basically, I would never, ever say "I am sure of his winning the game." I would only say "I'm sure he'll win," "I'm sure he won," "I'm sure he's going to/gonna win," etc. I would never even write the "sure of his winning" phrase.

    If "to be sure of his winning" is a set phrase in BE, then it does not have that valence here in the US. So to me, "being sure of his winning" doesn't immediately connote a certain time at which that winning will occur. I'll definitely agree with andy's advice for BE, but in AE something like "I'm absolutely certain of his tampering with the election" can refer to past events as well as future (and present) ones. (Obviously a past gerund, like "his having tampered," might be even more clear, but I think the phrase is flexible enough.)

    I viewed the question about "having hopes of" as a separate matter, and thus I neither discussed it nor corrected the obvious problem in it.
     
  5. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    I would very much like to see other AE opinions on that. I cannot see how "I'm absolutely certain of his tampering with the election" could apply to the past. I agree that "his having tampered" would be correct.

    No not a stock phrase, but the constructions in the original question are not uncommon. In the specific case here, I'm sure that most BE speakers would, like you, also say "I'm sure he'll win". But I am absolutely sure of no BE speaker saying "I am sure of his winning" when referring to a past event.


    PS
    QUOTE I viewed the question about "having hopes of" as a separate matter, and thus I neither discussed it nor corrected the obvious problem in it. /QUOTE
    That is why my comment was in a postscript in very small text. It does no harm to pick up an obvious point like that in an aside for learners of the language.
     
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I'm totally okay with your correction, andy. I guess my point (which I made performatively) was that the structure "to be sure of + gerund" is so foreign to me that it doesn't mean anything in particular.

    Julianus, this could be an example of how much native speakers avoid gerund phrases like the kinds you're suggesting. My advice is definitely to use "that"-clauses. Those are the rule, and gerunds are the exception, in situations like this.
     

Share This Page