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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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Only "He is going to eat."
AnonymousIf 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?

He is going to eat - this is future tense.
The others are not future.
He may eat - means he is permitted to eat (present)
Perhaps you meant "he might eat" - which states that right now (present) there is a possibility that he will eat (in the future)
She is eating - present progressive. It does not mean that she will continue to eat after this present moment.
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Really, on the "may"?

Are you hungry?

Not now, no, but I may eat when I get home in another hour or so.
Grammar Geek Not now, no, but I may eat when I get home in another hour or so.
Don't shoot me, GG, but whaddya call this??

- A. BTW, I'm using your quote suggestion. Thanks.
Some linguists insist that English has no future tense since there is no separate form of the verb for it. Ignoring that and assuming that verb forms with shall/will are a future tense, the problem is that (a) other ways are used to refer to the future: she eats out tonight; and (b) the shall/will form does not always refer to the future: she will eat apples even though they disagree with her.
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Certainly modal combinations such as "he may eat", "he can eat", "he should eat", etc. may have future implications; that is in the nature of possibility, permission, obligation, etc.

Some would contrast compound forms such as "she will eat" with forms in other languages (e.g. "elle mangera"), and argue that the latter is an inflected form, and thus a genuine "future tense", whereas the former is modal, and therefore is not.

I don't see this myself, as "elle mangera" is itself a compound form: "elle manger + a", i.e. pronoun + infinitive + 3rd person singular of "avoir".

MrP
I don't know. It depends on the definition of "tense", maybe. MW:

1 : a distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time or duration of the action or state it denotes
2 a : a set of inflectional forms of a verb that express distinctions of time b : an inflectional form of a verb expressing a specific time distinction


So yeah, maybe they can all be future tenses. But English is weird, because on second thought you often need some context to be sure which tense it is. So it depends on how you define it. But... is it important?
I got in my time-machine, set the date to tomorrow, landed behind your house, got in, found your sister in the shower... Yeah, I had fun tomorrow.Emotion: big smile
Well, "I had fun tomorrow" is a new one on me!But then, it might be back to the future Emotion: smile

Sorry for the mix-up on "may"; I thought I had explained the meaning with its definition in the sense of "might".
Presesent tense is used for a habitual actions, extending to the future, and you all can probably think of other examples!
I always eat at Murphy's Deli on Fridays.

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