will be in for a big surprise.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by redgiant, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Inspired by this thread (You're in for a big surprise.), where Thomas Tompion gave the definition of "to be in for something",
    I was wondering if changing the tense would make the set expression sound strange. Is it the fact that the future sense has already been signaled in "to be in for something" that there's no need to say "you'll be in for a big surprise"?

    Eg.) If you think I won't gut you myself to get that key, you'll be in for a big surprise.:confused:
     
  2. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    You're right to think it's perhaps a little redundant, but I think it sounds perfectly OK and natural to say 'You'll be in for something'.
     
  3. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    The appropriate expression would be, for example, 'If he thinks that, then he's in for a big surprise'.

    If the speaker believes the surprise is coming, that means that for him it is true now that the surprise is coming, therefore the present tense is appropriate.

    I have changed the example to third person, since telling someone directly takes the surprise away.
     
  4. boozer Senior Member

    Bulgaria
    Bulgarian
    I entirely agree. (Although from a grammar point of view the phrase remains beyond reproach even in the future tense :) )
     
  5. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thank you~ "You are in for a big surprise" is immediately imminent. It makes sense if he intends to gut the guy on the spot.
    Would you use "will be in for a big surprise" only for something that takes place at a later time? If I'm preparing for a surprise birthday party tomorrow for my father, would you say "my father will be in for a big surprise" instead of "my father is in for a big surprise" because the birthday is not as imminent as it is to gut the guy on the spot?
     

Share This Page