Future

Hi! Sorry for intruding, Emad, but coincidently, I have a similar question as yours.
What if the exercise had these three options as the answer ...
Hurry up! Your train (leaves / is going to leave / is leaving) in five minutes.
Are all options possible? What are the differences in meaning?

shantower posted:

Hurry up! Your train (leaves / is going to leave / is leaving) in five minutes.
Are all options possible? What are the differences in meaning?

Hello, Emad and Shantower,

Yes, all three of those options are possible, along with others:

  • Hurry up! Your train leaves in five minutes.
  • Hurry up! Your train is leaving in five minutes.
  • Hurry up! Your train is going to leave in five minutes.
  • Hurry up! Your train will be leaving in five minutes.
  • Hurry up! Your train is going to be leaving in five minutes.

I ordered those options in a rough sequence of formality, with "leaves" as the most formal option and "is going to be leaving" as the most informal option. There are no appreciable differences in meaning between any of the options.

Some people don't like the progressive infinitive with "be going to," so the last option is a bit risky -- though native speakers do use it frequently and naturally, especially in conversation. Here's another way to phrase the first option:

  • Hurry up! You only have five minutes before your train leaves.

I find it interesting that all five of David's examples describe a future event, but all but one ("will be leaving", which is future progressive), are, strictly speaking, some version of the present tense.  Paradoxically, the future tense can refer to present events.  (See Future Perfect and Present Perfect or Future Perfect.)  As I've said before, I didn't invent this language.  I only teach it.

David's examples don't include the simple future (6: "will leave"), possibly because, even though it is technically grammatical, it doesn't sound as natural to the native ear as the examples that he did cite do.

Another example that hasn't been mentioned yet is:

8: Hurry up!  Your train is about to leave.

This is less specific, though.  In my mind, it doesn't sound quite right with "in five minutes".

DocV

PS to Shantower:

I didn't find your post intrusive in any way.  You expanded on Emad's question while staying on point.  This is a forum, and I find your post to be a valuable contribution to the thread, as we can see by David's inclusion of your additional example in his reply.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×