Talking about the Future impossibility

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Luluw0ngs

Member
Singlish
Can I say these following sentences when I talk about a thing that is impossible in the future?

1. It can’t rain tomorrow.
2. It is impossible to rain tomorrow.
3. It is not possible to rain tomorrow.
4. It is impossible that it will rain tomorrow.
5. It is not possible that it will rain tomorrow.
 
  • Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo, Lulu.

    I think the following are correct:

    1. It can’t rain tomorrow.
    4. It is impossible that it will rain tomorrow.
    5. It is not possible that it will rain tomorrow.
    and
    6. It isn't possible that it will rain tomorrow.

    GS :)
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1. It can't rain tomorrow is possible, but it is not a prediction of the weather tomorrow. It means that rain tomorrow is unthinkable, because I am planning to do something that needs dry weather.

    2. and 3. are wrong: I don't think the impersonal "it" can multi-function in this way: you need a new "it" for the weather.

    4. and 5. are sort of OK, but there are more idiomatic alternatives.
     

    Luluw0ngs

    Member
    Singlish
    Dear se16teddy

    Could you tell me what more idiomatic alternatives you are referring to.
    Are they as follows?

    1.It is certain that it will not rain tomorrow
    2.It can't possibly rain tomorrow ( fancy that, just one adverb,possibly,makes two sentences meaning different)
    3.It will certainly not rain
    4. It is certain not to rain tomorrow.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1. is fine

    2. "It can't possibly rain tomorrow" is not a prediction of tomorrow's weather. As I said in #3, it means that I refuse to consider the possibility that it might rain tomorrow.

    "Can" has two completely different meanings
    a) a thing happens with some frequency, at least sometimes (It can rain here but it is rare); but if you say "tomorrow" that precludes this interpretation
    b) there is no physical impediment or (at least informally) permission has been granted.

    Idiomatically, we say "It can't rain tomorrow" to mean "I refuse to grant permission for it to rain tomorrow" and hence "I refuse to accept that it might rain tomorrow".

    3. Some people would say this, but personally I feel that "will" has a feeling of probability and prediction, and therefore does not sit comfortably with "certainly".

    4. Some people would say this, but I might avoid it in very careful writing. I feel that "it is certain" (it referring to the gods of chance) and "it won't rain" (it referring to the gods of the weather) are not entirely comfortable sharing the same subject (the solitary it).
     
    Last edited:

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo, se16.

    You say: "It can't possibly rain tomorrow" is not a prediction of tomorrow's weather. As I said in #3, it means that I refuse to consider the possibility that it might rain tomorrow."

    Let me ask you: Isn't the sentence "I refuse to consider the possibility that it might rain tomorrow" a possible — perhaps verbose or awkward — to make a prediction of tomorrow's weather?

    GS :)
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "It can't rain tomorrow" jocularly implies that someone (perhaps a weather god) has control over tomorrow's weather, and can be invoked to determine a favourable outcome. Prediction is not like that.
     
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