we will be taking off as soon as possible

Bob8964

Senior Member
Chinese
Dear All,

I have a sentence from my book as below:

We have a slight delay becasue of the poor weather, but we will be taking off as soon as possible.

I think it should be the announcement used in the airport. But I'm not very clear about why the future continuous, "will be taking off", is used here. I think the purpose of using this tense would mean it is just a routine activity, i.e., after a poor weather, "taking off as soon as possible" will be done by airlines as a matter of routine. Please kindly check whether my understanding is workable.

Thank you!
 
  • timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Dear All,

    I have a sentence from my book as below:

    We have a slight delay becasue of the poor weather, but we will be taking off as soon as possible.

    I think it should be the announcement used in the airport. But I'm not very clear about why the future continuous, "will be taking off", is used here. I think the purpose of using this tense would mean it is just a routine activity, i.e., after a poor weather, "taking off as soon as possible" will be done by airlines as a matter of routine. Please kindly check whether my understanding is workable.

    Thank you!
    My impression is that using the future continuous form is a way for the announcer to minimize the apparent bad news they are giving. The "will be taking off" invites the listeners to imagine themselves in the process of taking off, which is a bit more palatable than simple being told that the take off will take place in the future.
     

    futuromadrileño

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Agreed. It really doesn't give the connotation of something "routine," and in meaning is essentially identical to "we will take off."
     

    Bob8964

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The "will be taking off" invites the listeners to imagine themselves in the process of taking off, which is a bit more palatable than simple being told that the take off will take place in the future.
    I think, in the above quotation, "the take off will take place in the future" is more like a prediction. I don't know whether it has the same meaning as the original sentence, which I have gathered is a promise according to your suggestions. So, I'm wondering whether it would be better to use "...being told that we will take off as soon as possilbe" than "...being told that the take off will take place in the future" there.
     
    Last edited:

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I might understand the question better if you could supply the entire sentence. While we're waiting for that, I will suggest that -- forgetting future and asap and promises and predictions -- you simply learn that the continuous tense is often used in these sorts of circumstances. The sense of movement that the continuous tense provides is soothing, nicer, more enjoyable-sounding, if you will, than a simple statement of fact:

    We will be taking off soon. Until then, relax, have a cup of tea, imagine the wonderful journey you're about to embark on and we'll call you when it's time to board.

    We will take off soon. We'll call you when it's time.

    It's a matter of mood. :)

    I will be going to bed soon, so I may have to reply tomorrow.
    I will go to bed soon. Don't expect an answer tonight.
    :D

    Mood.
     

    Bob8964

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you, Copyright! I understand it's not a simple question. This is a single sample sentence from my book. It only says this is a usage of the future continuous while it's not used as a definite arrangement. I think I can gather your main ideas, but the future tense is so complicated, there are still two questions which need your help:

    We will take off soon. We'll call you when it's time.
    For the "will" in "We will take off soon", could you tell me whether it means a prediction, or a promise?

    We will be taking off soon. Until then...
    I still feel there is a slight difference between "we will be taking off soon" and "we will be taking off as soon as possible", becasue "as soon as possible" is usually used in a promise. Does it mean it could be a better choice if we use "soon" instead in the original sentence ?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    For the "will" in "We will take off soon", could you tell me whether it means a prediction, or a promise?
    Well, I've never thought of it -- but if I did, I would say that it could be a plan, a prediction or a promise. Take your pick depending on context and who says it and how much you believe them. :) You have to remember that you're listening to someone who is dealing with public relations and annoyed passengers -- they will try to say the best thing for the situation.

    I still feel there is a slight difference between "we will be taking off soon" and "we will be taking off as soon as possible", becasue "as soon as possible" is usually used in a promise. Does it mean it could be a better choice if we use "soon" instead in the original sentence ?
    There is a difference between soon and as soon as possible. Soon means in a short time, as soon as possible means as soon as we can, which could turn out to be a long time.

    In the original sentence, I think as soon as possible has been used because the pilot is at the mercy of the weather. Soon can sound like a promise here and you don't want to promise what you can't deliver. And as soon as possible can suggest urgency on the part of the airline ... often a good approach when you're dealing with grumpy, delayed passengers.
     

    Bob8964

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hi Copyright, with your help, I gather that there would be two levels of meaning in the original sentence when it is told by a pilot:

    1. We will be in the process of taking off (make passanger feel nicer through imagining this future process)

    2. We will try to achieve this process as soon as we can (make a vague promise by using "as soon as possible" rather than "soon" in the original sentence)

    Please kindly advise whether my understanding is close to the mood.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top