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Hello Teachers

I have still troubles in the use of <will be doing>. The paragraphs below are what I picked up from online articles. Could one change the phrases in the form of <will be doing> to ones in that of <will do>? If it is possible, does the change bring about any difference in the meaning? And if there is no semantic difference, which form is better in each of the contexts?



  1. Milk and meat from cloned animals are safe to eat. That is what the Food and Drug Administration is saying in a preliminary study. That does not mean, however, that Americans will be eating cloned food any time soon. The FDA wants to take some time to gauge public reaction to the announcement before it decides to regulate cloned animals.



  2. However, there's also an awkward aspect to the new competitive landscape - namely that Adidas and Reebok also will be competing directly with each other. There's no getting around the fact that both brands are aimed at the same customers, and so-called "cannibalization.



  3. Instead of fuel economy Toyota will be talking about how the hybrid SUV will have 270 horsepower rather than 240 in the standard V-6 version. The company doesn't anticipate it will be difficult to find demand for the 40,000 hybrid SUVs it expects to sell this year, even though it plans to charge $3,000 to $5,000 more for the hybrid engine.



  4. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who arrives on Tuesday for his first trip to the country since he served in the Vietnam War, will be seeking to improve ties with China after a recent spy-plane row and to defuse a potential argument with Japan over incidents involving U.S. servicemen stationed there.



  5. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the American people and you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done. Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.
Thank you in advance.
paco
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Hi again, Paco,

It's no bother at all to me. On the contrary, it's interesting.

I'm a bit confused with your answer that <will be doing> is a wordy version of <will do>.

When I reread what I wrote, it doesn't seem to me that I gave that answer. I thought I identified some differences. Perhaps I didn't express myself well enough.

I just got off the phone with Mario. He is sick!! He has had a sore throat for the last 4 days, and now he has a cold on top of that. And he is struggling getting back into the swing of things at work. It's always hard for me after a long vacation. But he will manage. I won't be seeing him tonight. I have my project to finish and gym night. I will see him tomorrow. Hopefully he will feel better.

I won't be seeing him tonight

You say 'she is saying "<my not-seeing him tonight> is an outcome of my already-fixed schedule". Yes, that's a possible interpretation, but not 100%, maybe she is deciding as she speaks. To me, the continuous also stresses that the 'not seeing' is going to last all evening. Also, it reinforces closeness in the future. We wouldn't commonly say 'I won't be seeing him in 2009.

I will see him tomorrow

You say 'This seems to me as "I will put <seeing him> into my tomorrow's schedule"'. Well, it expresses a strong decision. It may also be that I will see him for a short time. If you want to think about this schedule aspect, don't forget to consider future plans with 'going to'. If she is putting it into her schedule, how about 'I'm going to see him tomorrow'?

You also wrote to Roro, so permit me to comment a bit..

a distinctive feature of <will be doing> is that it is used to clarify that the stated future event is independent from both speaker's judgment (epistemic mood) and subject's volition.

Well, it can be used this way, I agree. But how about

Can you give Tom this tomorrow for me? Oh, wait a minute, he will be on the same bus as me tomorrow, so I will be seeing him. Is this independent of my judgment? Another way to look at this is to say that it expresses a logical deduction, which is a use of judgment.

If some person says "I will see him tomorrow", one can take the sense both ways depending on the context; "I have an intention to see him tomorrow" and "It is fixed for me to see him".

I agree. It just really states the fact that I will see him. As I said, it's a strong statement.

The construct of <will be doing> can avoid this kind of ambiguity. "I will be seeing him tomorrow" always means "It is fixed for me to see him tomorrow".

Do you mean it's the same as 'I'm going to see him tomorrow'?

Best wishes, Clive
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paco
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Hello Clive (and Roro) again

Yes you are right. To me, some part of <will be doing> looks like to overlap with some part of <is going to do> and that of <is doing>.

My grammar book (Longman English Grammar, Alexander, L.G.) tells about three features of <will be doing> like this;

1. Action in progress in the future

The most common use of <will be doing> is describe actions which will be in progress in the near future.



  • Hurry up! The guests will be arriving at any minutes!



  • A space vehicle will be circling Jupiter in five years' time.


  • It is often used for visualizing a future activity already planned.



    • By this time tomorrow, I'll be lying on the beach.
    2. The softening effect of the future progressive

    Sometimes <will be doing> is used to describe simple futurity, but with a softening effect that takes away the element of deliberate intention often implied by <will do>.



    • I'll work on this tomorrow. (intention, promise)



    • I'll be working on this tomorrow. (futurity)


    • In some contexts, <will be doing> is more polite than <will do>, especially in the questions when we do not wish to appear to be pressing for a definite answer.



      • When will you finish these letters? (a boss to his assistant)



      • When will you be seeing Mr. Brown? (an assistant to her boss)


      • Sometimes there really is a difference in meaning.



        • Mary won't pay this bill. (She refuses to).



        • Mary won't be paying this bill. (futurity)



        • Will you join us for dinner? (invitation)



        • Will you be joining us for dinner? (futurity)



        • Won't you come with us? (invitation)



        • Won't you be coming with us?(futurity)


        • 3. Arrangements and plans

          The construct <will be doing> can be used like <is doing> to refer to planned events, particularly in connection with travel.



          • We'll be spending the winter in Australia. (= We are spending)



          • Professor Craig will be giving a lecture on Etruscan pottery tomorrow evening. (=He is giving)


          • Reading this, I took <will be doing> is more pro-futurity and less pro-intent than <will do> in its over-all notion. But I might be wrong.

            paco

Hi,

I agree with all this.

1. Action in progress in the future

The most common use of <will be doing> is describe actions which will be in progress in the near future.

It is often used for visualizing a future activity already planned.

Yes, I agree

2. The softening effect of the future progressive

Sometimes <will be doing> is used to describe simple futurity, but with a softening effect that takes away the element of deliberate intention often implied by <will do>.

  • In some contexts, <will be doing> is more polite than <will do>, especially in the questions when we do not wish to appear to be pressing for a definite answer.
Yes, the simple future has more strength and can be more forceful.

Sometimes there really is a difference in meaning.



  • Mary won't pay this bill. (She refuses to). strong statement of fact



  • Mary won't be paying this bill. (futurity) ditto, plus prediction



  • Will you join us for dinner? (invitation) OK



  • Will you be joining us for dinner? (futurity) OK



  • Won't you come with us? (invitation) OK



  • Won't you be coming with us?(futurity) OK


  • 3. Arrangements and plans

    The construct <will be doing> can be used like <is doing> to refer to planned events, particularly in connection with travel.

    Yes

    Reading this, I took <will be doing> is more pro-futurity and less pro-intent than <will do> in its over-all notion. But I might be wrong.

    No, I don't think you are wrong. Again, it has less force.

    Here are a few other comments from grammar books that may be of interest about future continuous.

    - stresses the process as well as the fact

    -threatening (I wil be talking to your boss about this)

    - logical deduction (He'll be waiting for us)

    - speculation (I'll call tomorrow. He will be going to bed now.) (Where will you be living 10 years from now?)

    I still see many of these distinctions as being rather subtle. Anyway, Paco, I think we can't take this much further in a forum like this, but I have enjoyed discussing it with you. If I may say so, I feel that you have a pretty good grasp of it.

    Again, best wishes, Clive

Hello Clive

Thanks for the warmhearted comment. I did really appreciate it. Now I feel I've got a bit more confident in my understanding of <will be doing>, though the distinctions between <will do>, <is going to do>, <is doing> and <will be doing> still remain ambiguous to me. It's a big problem anyway, and I agree to you that I can't get this sort of distinction in a short time through QAs in places like this. I'll learn them step by step. Thank you again and hope you will enjoy a nice weekend.

Best wishes
paco
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Hi Roro,

I forgot to mention I also enjoyed reading your ideas. It's just that Paco's were so much longer!

Clive