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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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Hi Paco,

Could one change the phrases in the form of <will be doing> to ones in that of <will do>? Yes

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? I'd say the progressive form stresses the fact that these paragraphs are talking about the near future. It also stresses the length of the action and its possibly repetitive nature as well. I see these as fairly subtle distinctions, and appropriate for these contexts.

Perhaps this isn't enough information for you?

Clive
Hello

Thank you for the quick reply. It must be true that the distinction between <will do> and <will be doing> is too subtle to explain. And I'm afraid my question was inappropriate to get a concrete explanation. So I'll choose only the first example. Please compare:



  1. Americans will be eating cloned food soon.



  2. Americans will eat cloned food soon.


  3. Do they really differ only in the nearness of future? How about the difference in the degrees of the certainity? How about the difference in the degrees of the speaker's speculation? How about the difference in the degrees of the subject's volition?
    paco
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Hello paco, Clive. Hello all,
I'm just wondering: isn't there any meaning (or subtly encoded nuance) of 'starting,' in #2...? In addition to Clive's description.
(IMHO. And this feature is weakened in #1, so to speak. ??)
Hi,

1. Americans will be eating cloned food soon.

2. Americans will eat cloned food soon.

How about the difference in the degrees of the certainty?

Well, the simple tenses always seem to me to have more force, more strength. However, I'd hesitate to say the certainty is different here. Usually, uncertainty is signalled by qualifiers like 'I think', 'probably', etc.

How about the difference in the degrees of the speaker's speculation?

Same comment as above. I'm not sure what difference you have in mind between certainty and speculation, but it seems like a pretty slim distinction. You don't seem them as related?

How about the difference in the degrees of the subject's volition?

I'm not sure what you are thinking of by 'volition' here. Do you mean to what degree the speaker wants this to happen?

Roro asked Isn't there any meaning (or subtly encoded nuance) of 'starting,' in #2...?

Roro, I understand why you ask the question, but really, I tend to think any suggestion of 'starting' is present in both versions.

I'm all in favour of using simple examples for this kind of thing. In class, I favour sentences like

1. Mary will be cooking dinner tomorrow evening.

2. Mary will cook dinner tomorrow evening.

The simpler the better, eliminating any words that don't relate to the point at issue or that add any possible complexity, like 'soon'.

Other people may like to offer different opinions on this topic?

Best wishes, Clive
Hello Clive. I like your avator & design of your posts.
Thank you for answering my question.〖some suggestion of 'starting' is present in both versions〗. I won't disagree now. Such nuance may be included in 'will'-future itself, perhaps. Then it's of no use.

I'm writing just because I hit on another pair, which seems to have different meanings. How do you think about them?

3. Mary will be solving this problem tomorrow evening.
4. Mary will solve this problem tomorrow evening.

(Probably this pair is related to another kind of questions. In that case ... sorry, paco, Clive.)
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Hello Clive

I'm sorry for bothering you. But to tell the truth, I'm a bit confused with your answer that <will be doing> is a wordy version of <will do>. I took all of the paragraphs above from CNN's reports. I can't believe any people like CNN reporters use wordy expressions in reporting news. Rather I believe there must be any necessity for them to use the construct of <will be doing>.

OK, let me put another example, which seems (at least to me) more illustrative. I picked it up in a message online.


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.
Here this woman used "I won't be seeing him tonight" and "I will see him tomorrow". I take the first one as if she is saying "<my not-seeing him tonight> is an outcome of my already-fixed schedule". The second one seems to me as "I will put <seeing him> into my tomorrow's schedule". Don't you agree?
paco
I'm really sorry for my interruption, just a word and I'll keep quiet.

Now it seems to me the 'will+be~ing' form describes something in the background. 'Will+inf.' describes more highlighted event, so it is used when you put some new event into your time table.
(I know that it is a mere paraphrase of Clive's explanation, 'the simple tenses always seem to me to have more force, more strength.')

You gave examples with its contexts, paco, so seems like it became clearer, .. for me, at least.
(I had no intention to bother you. Have a nice weekend!)
Hello Roro

I've learned that 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. 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". 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".
paco
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