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If we were to recognise "she will eat" as a future tense, then we might just as well recognise "he may eat", "she is eating", "he is going to eat" and other combinations as future tenses. Do you agree?
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Comments  (Page 4) 
So, Forbes, what could we label as "the future tense" in English?
The form with shall/will.
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ForbesThe form with shall/will.

Why that and not "he may eat", "she is eating", "he is going to eat" and other combinations as future tenses.
AnonymousWhy that and not "he may eat", "she is eating", "he is going to eat" and other combinations as future tenses.
Because that is to confuse the future tense with means of expressing futurity.

I think it is helpful to compare English with Spanish. If a tense is a finite form of the verb comprising one word, then Spanish has a future tense. But futurity can, and in some cases must, be expressed by other means, and the future tense is used other than to express futurity. No one on that account suggests that Spanish has no future tense.

The problem is that the English verbal system does not readily admit neat classification. Any classification has to be provisional.
Person under surveillance: "I'll call you tomorrow." <Ends call.>

Eavesdropper 1, reporting to HQ: "He'll call her tomorrow."
Eavesdropper 2, reporting to HQ: "He's going to call her tomorrow."

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How do the two reported versions differ, Anon, in your opinion?

MrP
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<How do the two reported versions differ, Anon, in your opinion?>

That would depend on context? What is that you want to say? Let's have your opinion?
<Because that is to confuse the future tense with means of expressing futurity.>

I'm still confused, Forbes. IYO, what is it that makes the shall/will form a good candidate for the label "future tense"?
No opinion, MrP?
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Stupid question (or the most clever question ever, depending on the point of view):
Why do you need to define what a future tense is? Every language (I guess) has a way to express a fact or thought in the future, but how that's done in terms of grammar is another matter.

I will do it, one day.
I am going to punch him in the face!
Guess what? I am going to the Grammar Convention! It's next week. I'm going with Mary...

All future... the concept. But do you really need to define it in terms of what future tense consists of? What would be the use of that definition? Who is going to use it, learn it, or accept it? I don't know...
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