"will be coming"

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"will be coming"

Post by dante » Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:41 am

Hello everyone,

Using progressive aspect in some situations has always been one of the toughest points in english for me. Specially with some verbs progressive aspect sounds inappropriate to me, as it in the sentences I give here, which I've found on Google,seems to be incongruent with "come" :

1.Do you think Our Troops will be coming home soon?

2.ABC Baseball Camps will be coming back to Santa Barbara, California for Two Weeks in Summer of 2009!

3.I will be coming to SC this fall, I have heard about all the great things Sterling has to offer.

Why not use simply "will come" instead and what is the nuance we obtain in the meaning by using "will be coming" ?
Does it maybe indicate that "coming" will be on more than one occasion, kind of regular in the indicated period?

With the verbs like "do" I understand that if I say :

I will be doing it next year.

I stress the fact that I will work on some activity in some future stretch of time , in this example over the period of the next year. When I compare it with "come" I feel that with " I will be coming" I'm saying that I will come to some place on more occasions during some time interval.

Thank you for the help
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:50 am

I've not specifically considered this point before, but it seems to me that in your examples the progressive aspect implies not so much that the events being referred to will happen, but that there is an expectation that they will happen.

However, other explanations or interpretations may also be possible.

In my opinion the progressive aspect does not suggest repetition of the action unless it is explicitly mentioned or tied to a regular routine:

"The film crew will be eating in the school cafeteria together with the pupils until they have finished shooting their documentary."

"The students will be getting up at the same time as their teachers." (The broader context of this statement will clarify whether this is going to be a one-off event or a regular occurrence.)
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by dante » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:06 am

Hello Eric Kowal,

Thank you for your answer.
Would you check if the sentence which you've given as an example would be correct if I used the verb "come" instead of "eat" :


The film crew will be comiing to the school cafeteria until they have finished shooting their documentary."

I have many doubts about the usage of the present progressive too, and I will take the opportunity and open a new thread to ask you about it.

Best regards
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:11 am

Yes, that sentence seems fine to me. The change of verb does not affect the expectation that the film crew will be performing its (new) activity regularly (i.e. coming to the school cafeteria as opposed to eating in it).
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by PhilHunt » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:29 am

I would say that the examples you gave are a combination of two types of future.

Present Continuous for Future "I am coming to SC this fall"
We use this tense to express planned actions in the future. Usually it is arranged [I.E. it is in your agenda] or someone is expecting you [I.E. an appointment with someone].

Will future "I'll come to SC this fall"
This tense is the most difficult of the futures because it has a wide scope.
In your examples I see:
Speculation "Will our troops come home?"
Recounting future plans to other "I'll be SC this fall."
Erik's interpretation is also valid though.

By mixing the two tenses you are giving information to another and also specifying it is an organized activity. As Erik said, they are not repeated actions.
These examples are markedly different from the other form of the future progressive with will, which is what you mentioned yourself dante, and what Erik expanded on. For example: (1)"I'll be working on my tan this time next week." (2)"We'll all be driving flying cars in the future." This is used to (1)specify/(2)speculate on a continuous action you will be doing at a future date.

Will is a complicated tense though, and I'm only just starting to understand all the nuances myself. The examples I gave above are only related to your post, there are many more.
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by dante » Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:37 am

Hello Eric Kowal and Phil Hunt,

I must say that you've helped me a lot with your posts again.
I mean I still don't have total grasp as to the need of the continious aspect in the given situation but I think I understand Phil's explanation about it's usage:
We use this tense to express planned actions in the future. Usually it is arranged [I.E. it is in your agenda] or someone is expecting you [I.E. an appointment with someone].
and
" This is used to (1)specify/(2)speculate on a continuous action you will be doing at a future date.
Still, I have doubts about one point mentioned in this thread and it being the point most difficult for me. It is not the question peculiar to the future continious form "will be v-ing" but its about the notion of "progressive" , "continious" in general.

I understand Eric's explanation in the first post :
In my opinion the progressive aspect does not suggest repetition of the action unless it is explicitly mentioned or tied to a regular routine:

"The film crew will be eating in the school cafeteria together with the pupils until they have finished shooting their documentary."
and Eric's answer to my changing slightly the sentence by using the verb "come" instead of "eat":
The change of verb does not affect the expectation that the film crew will be performing its (new) activity regularly (i.e. coming to the school cafeteria as opposed to eating in it)
.

as " They'll eat/come in/to that restaurant regularly for the given time period" , and I feel like I could even add a number of their visits either, using "will be + verb" like:

"They will be eating here more than thirty times until the shooting is finished."
(though future perfect "will have eaten" seems most adequate to me )

This notion of regularity and repetition which I feel that "continious" verb forms imply in some contexts is what bothering me .I will add a dialogue with the present progressive here (which I planned to save for a separate thread) since I find it would be very useful for better explanation of my dilemma :

" - You've been away from home for month now. Are you worried about the children back home?

- No, not at all. I'm calling them every day, they're doing fine. "

My question is what would be the general notion of the limit of the time stretch which delineates the usage of "progressive" form, from "simple" verb forms for regular or habitual or repetitive situations ?
My guess is that it is correct or possible to use "progressive" form to describe regular,habitual situations whenever I have in mind clearly limited short time period, to which I can see the end, and which is clearly finite. On the other hand,it adds to my confusion that both "progressive" and "simple" are oftentime possible in this sense like in :

" I'm studying biology at the Boston university."

but also :

" I study biology at the Boston university"

I'd like you Eric and Phil to give your comment on this my dilemma if possible, and I'm apologizing in advance if my question is too long or confusing for you.

Best regards
"
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by PhilHunt » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:29 pm

OK Dante....phew your question is a small order. ;)
Your initial opinion below is correct in many cases.
My guess is that it is correct or possible to use "progressive" form to describe regular,habitual situations whenever I have in mind clearly limited short time period, to which I can see the end, and which is clearly finite.
I'm living in Italy (at the moment but I'm not from Italy and I might move in the future)
I live in Italy (more permanent state)

However, we often use the continuous to emphasis actions over static states. It makes the action sound more immediate and dynamic:
I study Biology at University. / I've worked in Biology for 3 years.
I'm studying Biology at the moment / I've been working in Biology for 3 years.

When I prepare students for job interviews I emphasis the use of the progressive form in adding dynamic-ism. Which statements above sound more current and dynamic to a job interviewer?
On the other hand, someone wishing to make an action sound more permanent and to emphasis solidity would probably opt for the Simple forms.
I've lived here all my life.
I've worked in this field since I graduated.


As you can see, the actually time limit is not always what determines the use of the progressive over the simple forms.
There have been many debates on this forum about the use of the continuous over the simple. PhilWhite has some very clear explainations of its use which could help you some more.
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by dante » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:44 pm

Hello PhilHunt,

First, I didn't understand quite well this :
OK Dante....phew your question is a small order. ;)
but it certainly sounds as confirming my supposition that I was right I wasn't too clear with my questions.
If you have time I would like you to briefly correct or comment the sentences which accentuate the repetitiveness with the progressive,and which I've posted in the earlier post :
"They will be eating here more than thirty times until the shooting is finished."
(though future perfect "will have eaten" seems most adequate to me )
" - You've been away from home for month now. Are you worried about the children back home?

- No, not at all. I'm calling them every day, they're doing fine.
Thank you for your advice about Phil White's posts, I'll search for his posts in your archive for more help on this topic.

Best regards
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by PhilHunt » Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:52 pm

dante wrote:Hello PhilHunt,
First, I didn't understand quite well this :
OK Dante....phew your question is a small order. ;)
It means, you've given me a BIG task, as it is not easy to respond to all your questions in a few quick posts.
"They will be eating here more than thirty times until the shooting is finished."
(though future perfect "will have eaten" seems most adequate to me )
" - You've been away from home for month now. Are you worried about the children back home?

- No, not at all. I'm calling them every day, they're doing fine.
The future perfect is slightly different to the Future progressive form. We use it to say that something will be completed by the stated date. In the example you mentioned I would rightly use the Future Perfect Simple because you have specified a quantity of times, not a duration of time. The Future Progressive emphasises the action over result and is correlated to 'until the shooting is finished'. It emphasises that the action will be repeated many times.

The other example:Are you worried about the children back home?
- No, not at all. I'm calling them every day,

This is present continuous, not future. They are actions happening at the time of speaking, or repeatedly in this time.
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by dante » Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:02 pm

Hello again Phil Hunt,

Thank you for your answer again . Specially this explanation from your last post is helpful to me :
The Future Progressive emphasises the action over result and is correlated to 'until the shooting is finished'. It emphasises that the action will be repeated many times.
I would also like to give a brief explanation on :
The other example:Are you worried about the children back home?
- No, not at all. I'm calling them every day,
This is present continuous, not future. They are actions happening at the time of speaking, or repeatedly in this time.
I essentially wanted to know about how "progressive" aspect goes along with "repetitiveness", and about the situations in which those two can be used together, no matter what verb tense is in question, so I used the present continious as an example because it is used much more frequently and its easier to find some exemplary, everyday situation.

Best regards and again thank you for the help
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by PhilHunt » Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:42 pm

dante wrote: The other example:Are you worried about the children back home?
- No, not at all. I'm calling them every day,
This is present continuous, not future. They are actions happening at the time of speaking, or repeatedly in this time.
In the above quote, 'every day' specifies the time period. It is not one singular day, thus we know the action must be repeated. However, by making the statement 'I'm calling them every day' we understand that this is a temporary repeated action, which will terminate at some time in the future.
If the woman had said "I ring my children every day" we would understand that they permanently live separate from from their mother, and she does indeed ring them every day over a very long period of time. the same as she 'cleans the house ever day' or 'works in a bank every day'.
So, the continuous tense defines a temporary repeated action, the simple tense a more permanent repeated action.

Does this help?
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by dante » Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:18 pm

Hello Phil Hunt,

Your explanations in this thread have helped me a lot. I believe that I can recognize the problem I have with this usage of progressive tenses now.
It is often stressed (in the grammars I've read and grammar related internet pages) that the present simple tense is used for more permanent, habitual, regular and repetitive actions and the present continious for temporary actions so I've made the distinction between those two on that line. The problem also is that in explaining the present simple tense it's often stressed that the present simple is often used with adverbs of frequency like "every day" ,"often" and like, and with the present continious tense are used "now" , "at this moment" etc. Using of adverbs of frequency like "every day" ,as far as I know, is never noted in the list of adverbs used with the present progressive. Those information are certainly helpful for students but can be misleading too as they were for me. As you have seen I have hard times with connecting the present continious tense with "repetitive" and "regular" actions.
I guess that these,as I have said, typical explanations of those two verb tenses should be attended with additional information about the usages which would help learners to get those points more flexibly and not as so clear cut and exclusive properties of those two tenses.
It may be that I took those explanations too literally or didn't think them over well too.

Thank you very much for your help

Best regards
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by PhilHunt » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:17 pm

Dante, language books are a good guide to learning a language and offer rules which are easy for students to grasp. Basic language grammar books will give very clear rules to help students get the basics before moving on to more complex structures that break these rules. As a rule, in more advanced grammar books you'll see some of these differences highlighted, especially with regards to the Present Perfect v. Present Perfect Continuous, where the progressive v. simple forms are highlighted well.

As you have come on this board to get a real world knowledge of English, and as your English is already very good, I'm giving you information that I might hold back from less advanced students. For example, as my Italian got better, I threw a lot of the rules out the window that I learned in books. However, my advice is to follow the basic rules until you are comfortable with them, but keep an open mind on usage, and keep reading and listening to authentic material. That is were you'll see the rules being broken and have to come to your own conclusions as to why.
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by dante » Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:21 pm

Hello Phil Hunt,

I'm really grateful for your help. It's really invaluable for me. My primary motive for coming here is really to have conversation with people concerning the language matters but on other topics too. What I like about this forum is a flexibility of conversation on topics and talk on a really wide variety of topics. At the same time I have an opportunity to ask about some grammar point I find difficult so my overall impression can be described with one word : Great place. Ok,that would be two words.
I would like if you would suggest me some book (or books) you have found specially useful and which thoroughly cover english grammar.

Thank you again for your help in this thread, it has really cleared my doubts on some points I had.

Best regards
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Re: "will be coming"

Post by Phil White » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:09 am

I've been out of the loop for a while, but this thread caught my eye.

The future aspect is, to put it frankly, a bitch in English. We just have so many different ways of doing it, and although some forms are finely nuanced, others appear to be identical in meaning.

But to deal only with the future progressive (or future continuous, as some grammars term it), take this sentence:
"I'm having a party next week. Everybody will be talking about Harry's new boyfriend."
In the second sentence, there is only really one way for a native English speaker to express this, namely with the future progressive. It's a special use of the future progressive and its effect is to create an atmosphere.

The same applies to the following:
"We'll be at the match tomorrow. We'll all be cheering and rooting for you."
Another use is when one (longer) activity in the future is interrupted by a (shorter) one or a specific point in time.
"I'll be working in the garden when you arrive, so if I don't hear the bell, come round the back."
"I'll be working in the garden at 6 o'clock."
And another use describes parallel (longer) actions in the future:
"I'll be driving to France while they are moving into their new house."
Those are the most common uses described in the grammars.

But when talking to my mother tonight, I said
"I'll be coming over on Thursday."
That doesn't appear to fit any of the usages above, but I suspect it's the most common usage in modern English.

It doesn't mean the same as:
"I'll come over on Thursday."
Now don't ask me why, but "I'll be coming over on Thursday" suggests a couple of things. Firstly, it suggests that my mother knows that I shall be visiting her, but that she doesn't know exactly when. She is anticipating my arrival (poor woman - she doesn't know about the washing). I am comfirming when I shall arrive (be arriving). It is also open as to whether or not I shall stay any longer.

"I'll come over on Thursday," on the other hand, suggests that I shall also return on Thursday, In other words that I do not intend to stay overnight.

In all the sentences you suggested, the simple future would be acceptable, although I think the progressive would be more common.

Sadly, all my grammars are packed, so I can't consult the big guns, but I think Erik hit the idea with his first post and Phil went a bit further with his idea of "speculation".

"The troops will come home next year" is a bald statement of fact or military planning.
"The troops will be coming home next year" says something about my feelings of anticipation. It is something I am looking forward to (or perhaps fearing). It is about expectation, anticipation or apprehension.

Phil is right when he said we have often discussed the progressive aspect. Try here, here, and here, although the discussion went in some very odd directions, as well as several other places besides.
Just a note for the grammarians on one phrase I used above, namely "future aspect" rather than "future tense". For the purposes of teaching, English has a huge number of tenses (probably in excess of 6448 - maths was never my long suit). For the purposes of strict grammatical description, it is regularly described as having two tenses only, namely past and non-past.

I have explained this briefly here. (Unfortunately, I have not got round to explaining some of the other terms I use, so most of the links are just stubs.)
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