A doubt about the future tense what is the difference between "he will be arriving soon afterwards" and "he will arrive soon afterwards" The first version is a sentence I found reading the book "Pride and Prejudice", the complete sentence is: "His servants will be here by the end of the week, and he will be arriving soon afterwards". Thanks in advance
Jul 11, 2015 4:49 PM
Answers · 4
Stefano, there are at least a dozen ways in English to refer to future time. Aren't you happy about that?! :) They all have some difference in meaning. The main difference here is the use of the *progressive* (or *continuous*) future in 'will be arriving'. The use of 'will" + bare infinitive is the most neutral way to talk about the future. You can think of it as the future simple. Just like the past simple (he arrived) and the present simple (he arrives), the future simple considers the action of ARRIVE (bare infinitive) as being a POINT in time (x). SIMPLE He arrived He arrives He will arrive (past) (present) (future) <-----x---------------------x----------------------------x---> PROGRESSIVE 1) As usual, the progressive aspect *stretches out* this point in time of ARRIVE and sees the action ARRIVE as taking place over a certain duration in time ~~~~~~~~~~ 2) This duration is a limited duration (it will not take place forever) He was arriving - expresses a duration in the past He is arriving - expesses a duration in the present He will be arriving - expresses a duration in the future You are no longer visualizing or conceiving the action ARRIVE as a point in time, but as a (limited) duration in time. ALL references to the future involve some aspect of a prediction, since we cannot be 100% certain about what will happen in the future. SUMMARY: Both the "simple future" (will arrive) and "future progressive/continuous" (will be arriving) involve a prediction that the action ARRIVE will take place "soon after the end of the week." The first sees the action as a point in time, the second sees the action as taking place as a (limited) duration in time. ~~~~~~~~~ See also
July 11, 2015
I've found a fairly clear explanation for using the future continuous in this context (ie. without another time-marker): the action happens in the normal course of events. Does this make sense to other native English speakers?
July 18, 2015
They both mean the same thing to me. I don't find one better than the other.
July 11, 2015
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