I will attend a course at...

lindasard

New Member
Australian English
Can anyone give me a hand? I'm trying to help some Italian friends of mine with their English. I didn't realize how complicated we make things until I tried to teach them how to use "will"!! :(

For example, would it be correct if they wrote to a friend and said, "I'm writing to tell you that I'm leaving for London on [date]. I'll be there for six months and I will attend a course at the British College there"?

Is this use of "will" correct? If so, can you tell me why? If not, can you tell me why not?

This is actually an example from an old text book which then goes on to explain that "will" is used to express decisions. However, on various websites I've read that "will" is only used for spontaneous decisions, not for decisions made in advance. :confused: I'm very confused and I'd really appreciate some input from others! Thank you!
 
  • Vronsky

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    Will here sounds to my non-native ears not like a decision but like an intention. So I think will is fine, but "I will" and second "there" are redundant in my opinion.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    However, on various websites I've read that "will" is only used for spontaneous decisions, not for decisions made in advance.
    Please read my signature: there are no hard and fast rules in English: there are merely conventions dictated by context.

    What you have read is "suggested guidance", not a rule.
    I'll be there for six months and I will attend a course at the British College there"?
    In fact it would be better if it were:
    "I'll be there for six months and I'll be attending a course at the British College there."
    or
    "I'll be there for six months for a course at the British College." But the tenses and verbs are fine.


     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    how complicated
    Just on the shall/will distinction there are at least 3 very separate, and sometimes conflicting, patterns:
    1) (very old but still used, for example, in very literary English or in religious rhetoric): Will = intention, consent or prediction; shall = sure consequence or the strictures of authority
    2) (still common among older educated speakers) 1st person (we or I) = shall; 2nd person = will, except in special cases
    3) (increasingly) Will is adopting all the meanings that I listed for shall and will in 1), though shall may be retained (or will may be avoided) in certain parts of the world in certain cases, such as when asking someone's permission or advice, or giving or transmitting instructions.

    As the threads above indicate, we distinguish between attend for decisions made around now and be attending for decisions made in the past. But, in a quite separate meaning, we also use be attending to indicate that the attending will be happening at the same time as something else identified and relevant. (I'll be there is a "stative verb" so no such distinction is made.)
     
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    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    This is actually an example from an old text book which then goes on to explain that "will" is used to express decisions. However, on various websites I've read that "will" is only used for spontaneous decisions, not for decisions made in advance. :confused: I'm very confused and I'd really appreciate some input from others! Thank you!
    As PaulQ said, What you have read is "suggested guidance", not a rule.

    I don't entirely agree that there are no hard and fast rules in English (my emphasis added), but the guidelines often given for ways of expressing the future are sometimes presented as if they were to be ignored at the learner's peril. This impression is reinforced by gap-filling exercises which require the learner to fill in (at worst) 'correct' and (at best) 'most natural' way of expressing the future.

    In fact there are at least five common ways of expressing futurity, and in any given situation native speakers may produce any one of the five (or a different one) apparently randomly. If we have sufficient context, we can often be reasonably sure that most native speakers will come out with one or with one of two likely forms. However, we can rarely say that a form that does not fit in with the normal guidelines is definitely incorrect and/or unnatural.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In fact there are at least five common ways of expressing futurity, and in any given situation native speakers may produce any one of the five (or a different one) apparently randomly. If we have sufficient context, we can often be reasonably sure that most native speakers will come out with one or with one of two likely forms. However, we can rarely say that a form that does not fit in with the normal guidelines is definitely incorrect and/or unnatural.
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
    Moreover, at least in my experience, we native speakers don't agonize over our choice of method or try to deeply analyze the utterings of others the way some learners seem to have been led to do. ;)
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    Moreover, at least in my experience, we native speakers don't agonize over our choice of method or try to deeply analyze the utterings of others the way some learners seem to have been led to do. ;)
    I wish I'd said that.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Moreover, at least in my experience, we native speakers don't agonize over our choice of method or try to deeply analyze the utterings of others the way some learners seem to have been led to do.
    Maybe you have not read any of the mountains of literature offering to help people with their writing! And how many years did it take you to learn English, by 100% immersion and unencumbered by assumptions gained from another language? When you have learnt a language as a child by 100% immersion, the analysis is subconscious. When you are learning a new language it is helpful to study rules. But rules written for language learners are inevitably incomplete approximations.
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think that's an unnatural use of the 'will' future, especially the second, supposing that the education course is already a firm arrangement. The present continuous is more likely - "I'm attending a course at British College". That is more than an intention - it is a definite plan.
    "I'm leaving for London on Saturday and spending six months at ... "
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I think that's an unnatural use of the 'will' future, especially the second, supposing that the education course is already a firm arrangement. The present continuous is more likely - "I'm attending a course at British College". That is more than an intention - it is a definite plan.
    "I'm leaving for London on Saturday and spending six months at ... "
    I agree.

    That use of the future tense sounds very stilted to me and I don't think many native (BE) speakers would use it there. Were I writing that, I'd use the future continuous "I'll be attending..." or the "I'm going to be attending..." construction. :)
     
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