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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Anonymousthe question about why you consider shall/will the suitable candidate for the term "future tense" stands.

I consider shall/will the suitable candidate for the term "future tense" because I believe there to be a general consensus to that effect. I believe the general consensus to be right only because it follows convention and because any definition of "future tense" that does not follow the general consensus is just an attempt to create a new convention.

There are no absolutes here - just different ways of looking at things.
Anonymous< Language teachers should be judged by the results they obtain.>

Most of them leave students, years later, asking why "will/shall" are considered "the future tense". ;-)

Then that shows they have produced at least some pupils who are still thinking about language.
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Let me give an example of why I do not think that labels are necessarily important in language teaching.

When I was taught Spanish some 45 years ago I was taught that when verbs were conjugated like this:

me lavo
te lavas
se lava
nos lavamos
os laváis
se lavan

they were called "reflexive".

I learned about the different situations where Spanish requires use of this "reflexive" form.

Modern usage requires us to call this form "pronomial", pointing out that it is only where the action is done by the subject to him or herself that the verb is truly reflexive. In other words, "reflexive" should now only be used to describe one possible meaning of a pronomial verb, not the form of the verb. Did the fact that the form was described as "reflexive" prejudice me in any way? No. I simply learned when to use the form - the label was unimportant.
<Then that shows they have produced at least some pupils who are still thinking about language.>

Mostly, the students began asking the questions when they were being taught. Misled, is what they were.
Forbes Socrates
OMG! I just read about him, and... that's Molly! You use the Socratic method, right?
I don't know anything about those things, but I guess I should learn a bit about them, lol. Looks interesting... and kind of complicated.

Anyway, I totally agree with Forbes. Definitions, classifications and conventions must have a purpose. Some definitions are necessary to create models and develop systematic approaches to solving or analyzing certain problems. Many definitions can be changed, and we can obtain different models from different definitions and conventions, but that's not a problem, as long as the models work and have a purpose.

So defining a future tense, or future tenses, might be useful... if there's a purpose, if that definition is important in a certain "model". Being not aware of the model to define, I think such definitions are not indispensable... to me.

Oh, and what I said about "models" seems to be true of sciences that are not "social sciences", by the way. In social sciences, there seem to be more instances of facts that are less consistent, more prone to criticism, and "models" are often too complex and inaccurate. Natural languages seem too complex to analyze systematically (are languages chaotic systems?), and that's one reason why strict definitions make less sense in this case, and that's also one reason why current machines can't understand natural languages (they have no "intelligence", they only process formal ones).

That's my opinion, Socrates, LOL.
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<That's my opinion, Socrates, LOL.>

Always, the opinion of Boreus, is present. Thanks, Boreus. LOL
AnonymousThanks, Boreus. LOL
That was NOT funny! Emotion: surprise How dare you? That was the best post I've ever written, LOL.
Kooyeen the Socratic method
I think, strictly speaking, the Socratic method involves cunningly inviting the interlocutor to agree with various obvious statements (sometimes in the form of questions), and then pointing out the natural contradiction between those various answers; whereupon general dumbfoundedness ensues.

(But perhaps we could say that the method in question is the "Inverted Socratic".)

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AnonymousTherefore, decing that will/shall is the future tense in English was an arbitrary choice, right?
Probably not; when the 17th and 18th century grammarians applied the term, will/shall was the prevalent future form.

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