I will pause...I will then read...

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Bob8964

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, here is a sample once given by e2efour when I talked about the future simple:

Example: A psychologist is testing someone for associations (on the old theory that people with normal brain functioning generally agree on the words they associate with a particular word). He says: "I am going to read out to you some words. After each word I will pause and I want you to then say the first thing that comes into your head. I will then read out the next word."
He summarized that it is too simple to describe "will" (in bold) as an intention. It is a precise description of a procedure.

These days, I watched a video on the internet about the uses of "will". It says that one use of "will" is to confirm orders of events in future plans, e.g.: "Ok, No.1 I will do this; No.2 you will do that; No.3..." The present continuous and "Going to" are not workable here.

So I wonder whether both e2efour and the anchorman in the video are talking about the same thing.
 
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  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Will" is just the ordinary future tense. What was the context of the discussion with e2efour from which you have taken the quote? What alternative(s) to "will" was/were being considered?
     

    Bob8964

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Will" is just the ordinary future tense. What was the context of the discussion with e2efour from which you have taken the quote? What alternative(s) to "will" was/were being considered?
    It was quoted from a coversation with e2efour, in which the sample was given to indicate that "will" didn't always mean intentions. No alternative was considered.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would say they are both using 'will' to explain the order of events in plan or series of events, but let's see if e2efour agrees!

    I'm not so sure about 'going to' not being used, (it's used at the beginning), but I doubt very much if we would use the present continuous in that context.
    The simple present is possible since it's used of schedules and itineraries and programmes. 'Will' might be used talking about those as well.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    A sequence of statements could indicate a succession of events in order, or it could indicate things happening simultaneously. Often you cannot tell which applies in a given situation:
    John went to the garage, Peter repaired the car and George drove Aunt Maria to the airport.​
    On the face of it, these three things happened at the same time, but if you know that John went to the garage to buy the part that Peter needed to repair the car that George used to drive Aunt Maria to the airport, then it is clear that the three things had to happen sequentially.

    We don't usually use different verb forms for simultaneous and sequential actions. In your quote, it is clear the two things happen sequentially because of the word "then". In your description of the video, it is not at all clear how the speaker is using "will" to indicate that the actions in numbers 1, 2 and 3 follow sequentially, since the No. 2 clause does not make much sense.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    As I recall (it was several years ago!), I made up the example to show how someone might describe a series of events.

    If the psychologist welcomes a subject into a room, it seems natural to start with This is what I am going to do (not This is what I will do, although he or she could also say This is what I will be doing), followed by I will do this, then I will do that and so on. I would not repeat going to, but only say it at the start of the procedure.

    The point I was trying to make is that it is all very well to describe going to, will etc. as meaning a plan, intention, arrangement or otherwise. This seems to be how some people are taught English. However, this approach seems to me to be simplistic. You cannot speak a foreign language if before you say anything you have to decide whether what you are going to say is an intention or plan etc. You simply don't have the time to do this.:)

    As a native speaker, I naturally don't have to think about such definitions. I am not saying that it is wrong at certain times to talk about intentions etc., and some learners might find it helpful (depending on their language). I imagine most native speakers hold the same view.

    All I can say about whether I agree with the anchorman of the video is that I don't know. I approach questions in this forum in terms of grammar or syntax, not forgetting naturalness, but not in terms of linguistics (which is a different approach).
     
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