Discussion in 'English Only' started by diyana23, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. diyana23 Senior Member

    Hello everybody!
    Please explain me what is the best choice for the following sentence and why:
    We've already made plans for the summer. We .......... a week in France and the rest of the time at home.
    a) will spend b) are going to spend c) are spending

    Actually the right choice is a) as mentioned in the book, but i couldn't understand why, because as they've already made plans then it should be b) or c)?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. bluegiraffe

    bluegiraffe Senior Member

    Nottingham, England
    English - England
    To be honest, I could never get my head round the textbook explanations of the different forms of expressing the future. As a native speaker, they are all correct and all understandable.
  3. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    I agree with bluegiraffe - all three sound fine to me, and I can't really discern much of a difference in nuance between them.
  4. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I am with the other two natives. I don't hear much difference at all and might say any one of the three. I might be a shade more likely to use (b), but not necessarily.
  5. iconoclast Senior Member

    english - anglo-irish
    Experience with EFL students shows that many pick up - from different sources including EFL teachers and textbooks, and grammar books and online sites - the incorrect notion that 'will' is future tense, and that they come to regard 'will' as the default form for future time reference (FTR), consequently producing inappropriate FTR forms, as in "I can't come to class tomorrow as I'll go to Mexico City", where natives more naturally use a continuous form in the place of 'will go' In fact, the true default form is the present-continuous 'going to' structure, which may overlap, on one side, with the 'will'-plus-base-infinitive structure and, on the other side, with straight present continuous. Overlap aside, situations occur where one option is definitely unlikely to be used by native speakers, or is at least inappropriate sounding. For example, as you speed recklessly towards the wall and expect to crash, you're overwhelmingly likely to cry out "We're going to crash!", rather than use any of the other FTR forms.

    The general outlines are:

    (1) 'will' plus base infinitive:
    sudden spur-of-the-moment decisions
    statements of willingness, promises, & other functional uses

    (2) 'am/are/is going to' plus base infinitive:
    "evidence-based" imminent predictions

    (3) present continuous:
    pre-arranged or pre-planned events

    The answer they're looking for in diyana23's example is present continuous. Although the 'going to' structure is fine in this context, the 'will' structure sounds unnatural. Interestingly, we do commonly use 'will' plus continuous infinitive to refer to future planning often tinged with some degree of expectation or pre-supposition, as in "Will you be going to the supermarket today [- you were talking about doing so yesterday / you usually go on Thursdays / etc.]?". Nevertheless, it's still a continuous form used for reference to future intentions/plans.
  6. diyana23 Senior Member

    Many thanks to everyone for help!
  7. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    U.K. English
    I can't understand why (a) is given as the right choice in your book. It's actually the least likely of the 3 options (although I think it would be correct and natural in the right context).

    Both (b) and (c) are acceptable as we are explicitly talking about a prearranged plan, as indicated in the first sentence.

    I agree with iconoclast that the present continuous (c) is the best option. There is a definite plan and there is a time reference (albeit in the previous sentence).
  8. iconoclast Senior Member

    english - anglo-irish
    It's a surprise to me, too, that they should give 'will spend' as the answer. The only explanation I can offer is that they're focussing on the set-in-stone aspect of the situation, which is no longer just an arrangement, but is now a certainty. Or something like that. Or perhaps they've just made a mistake - books do have them.

    In general terms, however, future time reference is the iffiest kind of time reference in terms of which form is selected. While indeed there are selection tendencies (as I sketched out), and while some of these are very strong, the truth is that the "view of the moment" held by the speaker may prompt him/her to select a form less likely to occur in the context. C'est la vie!
  9. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    Yes, a) sounds the least likely to me too. It suggests to me it is our current intention, expressed in the course of our planning, to spend a week in France.
  10. Villani16 New Member

    As some of you have said, the most suitable options are B) and C)

    In regard to Dayana's example, I think the same as Iconoclast said. They're emphasizing that they are going to be occupied during the trip so it is a way of saying: "We're going abroad, there is nothing you can do. We won't set up a plan apart from the one we planned.

    Regards :D
  11. ggonak4001 Member

    South Korea
    A : Why is Liam Neeson coming this afternoon

    B : He's installing a computer program

    naturally, when i use 'be -ing' somthing like ["I'm doing my homework"] ← this words mean [" now! I'm holding my pen and struggling wiht math!']?? right?

    but, above, sentence A has future tense 'this afternoon'.

    and sentence B has "is installing" I think I can say like this A : hey what is he doing now? B: He's installing a computer program.... something weired...

    if I says [ A : Why will Liam Neeson come this afternoon B : He will installing a computer promgram ] Is there some differnces in using [be -ing] and [will]
  12. arian20 Senior Member

    You can use present continues in many contexts and not just for now.
    One of them is near future plans as what you have written above

    I am visiting my dentist tomorrow.
    I am playing tennis at the weekend.
  13. arian20 Senior Member

    And if I am not mistaken, for near future plans it is better to use "be + verb + ing" instead of "will + verb"
  14. pedro30 Senior Member

    Lonato ( BS )
    The 3 refers to pre-planned actions for example:
    -I'm leaving the town tomorrow (pre-planned event,I've made a reservation)

    Can I use the 3 for the verb to be? For example:
    - I'm being 20 tomorrow!

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