Loading...

The Future Tense in English: Arguments For and Against

1. Introduction

Among the most controversial aspects of semantics is the issue of the future tense in English. Some scholars say that English has no future tense while others insist that it has. The purpose of this paper is to explore the arguments for and against the presence of a future tense in English.

2. English has no future tense

There are several arguments that have been put forward in support of the claim that English has no future tense. One such argument is based on the fact that there is no inflection for the future tense in English as there is in many other languages such as French and Spanish (Comrie, 1985). In other words, there is no way to change the form of a verb to indicate that it is referring to the future. This is in contrast to languages like French which have a dedicated future tense verb form, for example, je mangerai (I will eat).

Another argument for the absence of a future tense in English is that there are many ways of expressing future time without using a dedicated verb form. For example, modal verbs such as will and shall can be used to express futurity (Comrie, 1985). This is in contrast to languages like French which do not have modals and therefore require the use of the dedicated future tense form to express futurity.

A further argument against the existence of a future tense in English is based on the fact that there is often ambiguity about whether a sentence is referring to the present or future (Swan, 2005). For example, consider the following sentence:

The train leaves at 10am.

This sentence could be interpreted as meaning either that the train will leave at 10am (i.e. in the future) or that the train leaves at 10am every day (i.e. in the present). This ambiguity would not be possible if there were a dedicated future tense form in English as there would be in French (le train part à 10h) or Spanish (el tren sale a las 10).

3. English has a future tense

Despite these arguments, there are also good reasons to believe that English does have a dedicated future tense form. One such argument is based on historical evidence, which shows that Old English did indeed have a dedicatedfuture tense form (Quirk et al., 1985). This means that it is likely that Modern English also has a dedicatedfuture tense form, even though it may be less overt than in other languages.

Another argument for the existence of a future tense in English is based on etymological evidence (Swan, 2005). This evidence shows that many words which are now used to express futurity actually derive from dedicatedfuture tense forms in Old English or other Germanic languages. For example, the word shall derives from Old English sceal, which was a dedicatedfuture tense form.

A final argument in favour of the existence of a future tense in English is based on linguistic intuition (Swan, 2005). This argument claims that it just feels right to say that English has a future tense. After all, almost all other languages have some kind of dedicatedfuture tense form and it would be very odd if English were an exception to this rule.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion

FAQ

The main arguments for the presence of a future tense in English are that it can be used to express future events, intentions, or predictions, and that it can add precision to expressions of time.

The future tense differs from other tenses in English in that it typically uses the auxiliary verb "will" or "shall" followed by the infinitive form of the main verb, as in "I will go," or "He shall arrive." In some cases, however, the present tense may be used to express future actions, as in "The train leaves at 9:00."

Some possible uses for the future tense in English include expressing plans or intentions ("I'm going to visit my grandparents next week"), making predictions ("The sun will rise at 6:00 tomorrow morning"), or talking about scheduled events ("My flight arrives at 2:00pm").

Some drawbacks to using a future tense in English include its potential ambiguity (it is often unclear whether someone intends to do something or is merely predicting that it will happen), and its lack of use in certain dialects (such as Scottish English).

Cite this assignment

Free Essay Samples (December 2, 2022) The Future Tense in English: Arguments For and Against. Retrieved from https://essayholic.com/the-future-tense-in-english-arguments-for-and-against/.
"The Future Tense in English: Arguments For and Against." Free Essay Samples - December 2, 2022, https://essayholic.com/the-future-tense-in-english-arguments-for-and-against/
Free Essay Samples June 14, 2022 The Future Tense in English: Arguments For and Against., viewed December 2, 2022,<https://essayholic.com/the-future-tense-in-english-arguments-for-and-against/>
Free Essay Samples - The Future Tense in English: Arguments For and Against. [Internet]. [Accessed December 2, 2022]. Available from: https://essayholic.com/the-future-tense-in-english-arguments-for-and-against/
"The Future Tense in English: Arguments For and Against." Free Essay Samples - Accessed December 2, 2022. https://essayholic.com/the-future-tense-in-english-arguments-for-and-against/
"The Future Tense in English: Arguments For and Against." Free Essay Samples [Online]. Available: https://essayholic.com/the-future-tense-in-english-arguments-for-and-against/. [Accessed: December 2, 2022]

More Related papers

Top