What time is the bus?

lycen

Senior Member
English and Chinese
Hi I have 2 questions to ask:

Q1) We know that in "The bus leaves at 2pm", present tense here is used for future.

What about "The bus is at 2pm" which has the same sentence structure. Does "is" refer to the present or the future.

Q2) If I want to know the time my bus arrives, is it correct to say:

What time/when is my bus? (the more I think the weirder it sounds; it seems that the bus has become the time)

Instead of: What time/when is my bus arriving?

Thank you.
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You are right on both counts, Lycen.

    1. The bus leaves at 2 p.m. means the bus will leave at 2 p.m.

    2. We also can ask what time is my bus? and when is my bus?, to find out what time the bus will arrive.
     

    lycen

    Senior Member
    English and Chinese
    It refers to the future. The present tense is commonly used for events scheduled to occur in the future.
    Isn't this "is" like the "is" in "My birthday is on the 30th December" or "He is fat", which refers to the present (fact)?

    If "is" really refers to the future, we should be able to say "The bus will be at 2pm" as "The bus leaves at 2pm" can be said as "The bus will leave at 2pm".

    However, "The bus will be at 2pm" sounds odd.

    To me, "The bus is at 2pm" means the bus is currently placed in a 2pm slot of a bus schedule. Thus, 2pm is not really the temporal 2pm but more of the positional.
     
    Last edited:

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thus, 2pm is not really the temporal 2pm but more of the positional.
    I have never heard the words 'temporal' or 'positional' used in this way. 2 pm is a time, not a position.

    The distinction that English makes is between a schedule and a prediction.
    - The bus leaves at 2 - it's on the timetable.
    - The bus will leave at 2 - it's not on the timetable, but that is our best estimate.
     

    lycen

    Senior Member
    English and Chinese
    I have never heard the words 'temporal' or 'positional' used in this way. 2 pm is a time, not a position.

    The distinction that English makes is between a schedule and a prediction.
    - The bus leaves at 2 - it's on the timetable.
    - The bus will leave at 2 - it's not on the timetable, but that is our best estimate.
    What I mean by "positional" is the timeslot 2pm of the bus schedule. "Leaves" in my example refers to the future while "is" refers to the present. No one uses "The bus will be at 2pm".
     
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