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Future Time Expression in English

(2011-12-18 14:58:42)
分类: Englishprose

The first time expressions we learnt were base time and future time expression. We all use the future time expression for a long time. However, we don’t pay much attention to how we use them and why. This time, when I want to classify them, I find myself ignorant and I can’t tell the difference exactly. As a result, to finish the assignment now, I consult many data to solve these problems. After many efforts, I prepare this just as my interim results.

If it is roughly classified, it includes “basic future expression” “future progressive expression” “future past expression” and “past future perfect progressive expression”.

The basic future expressions have four forms. They are: will or shall+ basic form verb; is or are going to+ basic form verb; be+ special progressive form verb; be about to do. They all indicate something will happen in the future, but they still have specific difference. We often confused with “will or shall+ basic form verb” and “is or are going to+ basic form verb”. Also we can’t tell apart “be+ special progressive form verb” and “be about to do”. Generally speaking, “will or shall+ basic form verb” suggests something will happen in the future, but the other one “is or are going to+ basic form verb” also indicates that you have made a plan or they are in your expectation. Here is a point. In the first form I mentioned, the word “will” indicates your willing or desire but “shall” means asking for others’ opinions gently.

For example:

I will study hard to keep up with my classmates. (willing)

What are you going to do this evening? (plan)

There are also differences between “be+ special progressive form verb” and “be about to do”. You see, they all aren’t the common form to express something will happen. Because they are special, if you want to use these forms, you must observe strict regulations. The form “be+ special progressive form verb” and “be about to do” have the related meaning. They all suggest the close future. However, if you use “be doing”, the do must be the verb which indicates “moving in a distance” or “changing”, such as come, go, arrive, leave, fly, start and so on. On the other hand, “be about to do” is usually used with “when” or “if”. It also stresses on the point that it will happen in several seconds.

Here are some examples:

She is leaving for Beijing.

I am about to go out when the telephone rings.

The difference is slight but important and we must pay much attention to distinguishing them.

The future progressive expression only has one form in my research. The form is “will or shall+ have done”. It’s a pity I don’t find any exact explanation to demonstrate it, so I am still confused with it. In my words, I think it means something will happen in a certain time in the future, so we use the “future progressive expression” to describe the situation. The difference is familiar to the one in the “basic future expression”.

Let’s have an example:

Maybe he will be acting as a maid tomorrow.

Also we have the “future past expression”. It includes “would/ should +do” “was/ were going to do” “should like to/ would like to/ would love to do”. The first two expressions all indicate something was predicted to happen in a certain time now or in the future. However, the word “should” has another special meaning to express surprise or shock. The expression “was/ were going to do” contains the meaning of planning, which we should put enough emphasis on.

Here is the instance:

He would love to finish the report, but he failed at last.

And we have the most complicated expression --“past future perfect progressive expression”, this is the last but the most important expression that I must explain. The form is “would/ should have been doing”. If we want to demonstrate this expression, we must know well about “have been doing”. This one is familiar to us. It suggests something’s result will exist till now, even future. Then, the “past future perfect progressive expression” means somebody feels something had happened in the past and the result continued until now and future. The form is complex but the meaning and use is quite easy.

 For example, you didn’t finish your school work well, so you felt regretted. You say “I should have been wasting my time.”

This means you have wasted your time from past to now, even future. Of course, it is not a good example, but it can obviously express what I want to say.

From my study, I find many interesting things in grammar. However, it also shows it is as difficult as I expected. Although I have learnt English grammar for ten years, I still find myself ignorant. I finally know if I want to learn grammar well, I must make many efforts. Maybe it is why many students hate learning grammar. My assignment is here and I know it must be incomplete. This is an assignment about grammar, but there may be some grammar mistakes in it. However, I have tried my best, so I don’t feel ashamed to make it. The efforts I have made will be sure to do good to myself.

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