It doesn't look like it will be stopping

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Hello everyone,

I was reading a comic book last night and came across the following:

— The rain hasn't stopped yet.
— It doesn't look like it will be stopping. Let's get going.
Context: two friends have been sheltering under a patio from the rain, then one of them walks out from under the roof and into the rain.

Subcontext:
this is a fan-made translation of a Japanese comic book that hasn't gotten a commercial English release yet. I think that « It doesn't look like it will be stopping anytime soon » might sound more natural in English, but the speech bubble is so small that I believe the translator ran out of room and couldn't squeeze any more words in there.

Yet, the translator did write « it will be stopping », which is clearly longer than « it will stop », so I suppose there's a reason for it. Hence my question: what does « it will be stopping » convey that « it will stop » does not? I think I read somewhere on the Internet that the progressive form adds the idea of speculation and anticipation (something you're either fearing or looking forward to), so that « The troops will be coming home next year » has a more personal sound to it than « The troops will come home next year ».

How would you explain the progressive « it will be stopping »?

Thank you!
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "It will be stopping" is fine here. It's the same as saying "my nephew will be arriving tomorrow" instead of "my nephew arrives tomorrow." "It will be stopping" might imply "soon" or it might imply "ever," depending on the situation.
     
    Thank you, The Newt.

    But what difference exactly would there be between I don't think it will be stopping anytime soon and I don't think it will stop anytime soon, or My nephew will be arriving tomorrow and My nephew will arrive tomorrow?
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thank you, The Newt.

    But what difference exactly would there be between I don't think it will be stopping anytime soon and I don't think it will stop anytime soon, or My nephew will be arriving tomorrow and My nephew will arrive tomorrow?
    Essentially none. One form simply looks at the action as more of a process than a discrete event.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When we use may, will or shall with reference to the future, we can use the continuous aspect in the normal way to refer to a simultaneous event.
    When our train is arriving at the the airport, our plane will/may/shall just be leaving.

    However, there is another very common usage that is not so easy to pin down.
    1. Our train will/may/shall stop at Leeds on the way.
    2. Our train will/may/shall be stopping at Leeds on the way.
    2 somehow adds a nuance that it is previously agreed and decided and definite, perhaps because it is in the timetable. This nuance is compatible with the less certain sense of "may", because decisions do not always come to pass.

    The example of #1 seems to whimsically or ironically apply this principle to the decisions of the weather-gods; with the weather, the distinction is particularly intangible!
     
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    Thanks! What you're saying is very interesting, Se16teddy ("it is previously agreed and decided"). This is exactly what another person explained on another forum:
    But when talking to my mother tonight, I said: "I'll be coming over on Thursday."
    That doesn't appear to fit any of the usages above, but I suspect it's the most common usage in modern English. It doesn't mean the same as: "I'll come over on Thursday."

    Now don't ask me why, but "I'll be coming over on Thursday" suggests a couple of things. Firstly, it suggests that my mother knows that I shall be visiting her, but that she doesn't know exactly when. She is anticipating my arrival (poor woman - she doesn't know about the washing). I am comfirming when I shall arrive (be arriving). It is also open as to whether or not I shall stay any longer.

    "I'll come over on Thursday," on the other hand, suggests that I shall also return on Thursday, In other words that I do not intend to stay overnight.
    I'm having a hard time getting my head around this. I know the progressive form is more appropriate when one is talking about a long on-going action: for instance, I'll be studying in Spain next year — because I'm not going to study there only once, on one day. It will last (it will be lasting?? :() quite some time, so the progessive form is more appropriate.

    However, it's much harder for to me comprehend when the action isn't supposed to be happening over a long period of time. It becomes even harder for me when the sentence is negative: It won't be stopping (anytime soon). Another example I have in mind is Frank Sinatra's song Something Stupid, when he sings: And if we go someplace to dance, I know that there's a chance you won't be leaving with me. It's a bit hard for to me understand how you can imagine someone in the middle of not performing an action.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    There is not "one right answer". In many situations, there is more than one way to say something. One of those ways may be "much more natural" to you or to me, so we use that way. We need to understand the others when we read or hear them. We do not need to figure out rules for when we will use each one.

    In the song, "you won't be leaving with me" does not talk about "in the middle of not leaving". It means "when you leave the dance, you will be leaving with someone else, not me".

    Perhaps future progressive is an unnatural tense to use for that. But words in a song need to rhyme, and the stress accent (which syllables are stressed) needs to match the beat accents of the song. In the process of making all that happen, songwriters often say things in a way that they would not use in normal speech. If there are 20 ways to say something, and only one way fits the song rhythm, they use that (even if the other 19 ways are more normal, make more sense).
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Yet, the translator did write « it will be stopping », which is clearly longer than « it will stop », so I suppose there's a reason for it.
    I don't think so. I do not think there is a "reason" for choosing one of these instead of another:

    It doesn't look like "it will stop"/"it will be stopping"/"it is going to stop" (any time soon). It doesn't like like "it is about to stop"/"it is getting lighter"/"it is stopping". It looks like "it will go on for hours". We aren't going to get less wet if we wait.

    There are many sentences that can be used here. They do not have to each have a unique meaning.
     
    Oh, I really wasn't expecting one right answer, Dojibear. I was interested in finding out what a native speaker might be thinking of (what 'aspect') when they say It looks like it won't be stopping, instead of It looks like it won't stop. You've all been very helpful, thank you. The fact you do not see a significant difference between « it will be stopping » and « it will stop » is quite a relief, Dojibear. However, the post I quoted above (along with Se16teddy's post) suggest that there are still cases where changing will to will be does convey a different idea. I hope the more I'll read* and practice, the more I'll be able to grasp the difference eventually.

    * I googled « the more I'll be reading » and only got 1 result, so apparently this is not something many people would be likely to say. Hence my doubts and why I've opened this thread. Sometimes, both tenses can be pretty much interchangeable (as in the OP), but some other times, one might sound completely off in comparison to the other.
     
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    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm having a hard time getting my head around this. I know the progressive form is more appropriate when one is talking about a long on-going action: for instance, I'll be studying in Spain next year — because I'm not going to study there only once, on one day. It will last (it will be lasting?? :() quite some time, so the progessive form is more appropriate.
    The English progressive/continuous aspect is not imperfective.
    - It's basic meaning is not exactly duration or process but something else happening at the same time. This meaning does imply some duration. The progressive/continuous aspect can be used in this sense with a modal verb and with future reference: I'll be studying in Spain next year while you are Italy.
    - But the same form also has an entirely separate function that do not necessarily indicate progressive/continuous aspect or duration. When used with future reference, with or without a modal, it implies something like a determining influence: I have been accepted. I am going / I will/may/might/shall be going to Spain on 6th June.
    And if we go someplace to dance, I know that there's a chance you won't be leaving with me.
    Maybe the implication here is that fate, or the combined force of our natures, is a baleful determining influence?
     
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    That makes sense to me :thumbsup: Yes, I've just realised that Frank Sinatra's song may be slightly different from the sentence about rain that made me start this thread. I know that the progressive aspect can be used to 'cancel' / counterbalance the willpower aspect.

    You won't leave with me = You're not willing to leave with me.
    You won't be leaving with me = As it turns out, you will be leaving with someone else (fate is to blame).

    Come to think of it, maybe « It doesn't look like it will be stopping » actually does convey the same idea ! « The rain won't stop » would mean the rain 'refuses' to stop (just as you would say « the door won't open »), while « the rain won't be stopping (anytime soon) » is perhaps closer to a 'factual statement' ("it's not going to stop").

    Does that make sense? Am I on the right track?
     
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