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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 1st, 2010, 10:52 am
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Join Date: Apr 9th, 2010
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Default Future in Time Clauses and Double Negation

Being this forum so useful to clarify all my doubts I have another couple of them since a bit of time.

The first one is regarding future in time clauses; for give an example:
  • Call me when you will have finished.
    or
  • Call me when you have finished.
  • I would like to know when the game will be released.
    or
  • I would like to know when the game is released.

I haven't completely understood how to use the future in these clauses yet. I think that the first two are correct but in my opinion the others sound better, expecially the second one.

About my second question... if I want to say that I can't not do a thing how should I do?
Is this sentence correct?

I promised him that I would go to his party so I cannot not go.

Thanks!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 1st, 2010, 01:18 pm
Sue
 
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
Posts: 1,362
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Default Re: Future in Time Clauses and Double Negation

Time clauses and future events

Some of your sentences are incorrect, or don't mean what I think you think they mean.

I think you're confused because you see "will" as a marker of future tense. It isn't. "Will" is an auxiliary verb which shows that the speaker is either making a prediction or expressing volition. Here, let's just concentrate on prediction.

A prediction is a logical conclusion (or at least one that seems logical to the speaker). For example, if I know that my friend is on holiday at the sea, and that he loves the beach, at 11.30 am I might predict : Lucky John" he'll be on the beach at the moment.

Notice this is not a future event, but a present one. "Will" can be used for any prediction/logical conclusion, whether it's about a past, present or future event. It's the infinitive and the time adverbial which establish the time - not will :
He'll be lying on the beach at the moment.
I'll probably see John tomorrow.
I expect they'll have arrived by now.


English doesn't actually have a future form. There are two tense forms (ie the two main forms of the verb eg go/went, live/lived). The first form is used to express real, present or timeless or future events and the second to express events which are either not real (ie hypothetical) or not present or timeless or future - ie past.

Now let's go back to your examples. In the first one, there's no prediction, so will is not appropriate. The correct sentence is therefore either Call me when you have finished or Call me when you finish. The perfect infinitive sequences the event consecutively - the idea is Call me after finishing - ie First finish, then call me. The simple infinitive indicates the two events are more or less concurrent - ie Call me when you get to the final point. In reality though, it makes no difference - which is why either form is possible.

In your second example, both sentences are possible but they have quite different meanings.

The first uses will so a prediction is involved. The basic meaning is therefore:
When do you think the game will be released? - ie On what date will it be released?
I don't know when the game will be released.
I would like to know (= I wish I knew) when the game will be released (though I don't) because then I would know if I had time to save up enogh money to buy it on the first day.

The second example has a different meaning

I'd like to know ( = please let me know)
when (= as soon as)
the game is released.

So, the first example is talking about something you can't predict but wish you could, whle the second is asking someone to let you know when something happens.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 1st, 2010, 01:24 pm
Sue
 
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
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Default Re: Future in Time Clauses and Double Negation

Double negation

I promised him that I'd go to his party so I can't not go.

This is fine. When people say that English doesn't use double negation, it's not this type of sentence with two negative verbs that they're referring to, but sentences with negative adverbs like never. In the following examples, a and b are correct but c isn't :

I don't ever go swimming. (Correct - the verb is negated so the adverb isn't)
I never go swimming. (Correct -the adverb is negated so the verb isn't)
*I don't never go swimming. (Incorrect because both the verb and the adverb are negated - a double negative construction)
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