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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 27th, 2007, 09:11 am
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Default present progressive

Could you tell we when we can not use present progressive as a future meaning and give me an example.

Thank you.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 27th, 2007, 11:01 am
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Default Re: present progressive

We use the present progressive to describe actions in the present, actions that have an idea of continuity, actions in 'progress'.
For example, It is raining. If you look out of the window NOW you will see the rain is falling at that precise moment. The action of 'raining' is in progress.
Or Peter is eating his lunch. Peter, at this moment, is at the table and has a half empty plate of food in front of him. The action of eating is in progress.

I hope that helps.
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Unread Sep 27th, 2007, 11:37 am
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Default Re: present progressive

English verbs don't really express futurity - they see everything from the point of the present. The continous expresses a temporary, on-going event. On going means that it's started but not yet finished ( ie it's in progress), while temporary means that the end is foreseen. So : Peter is eating his dinner - he's already started, the action is on-going, but it's obvious that he'll finish in ten minutes or so (OK, Michèle - three hours or so if you're in France)

The odd thing is that English grammar considers an event to have started as soon as it is arranged. So : I'm meeting David next Monday - we arranged to meet last Friday (the start of the action) and on Monday when we meet, the action finishes. So I'm now in the middle of it - just as Peter was in the middle of his dinner.

This is reflected in the usual explanation that the continous expresses "future arrangements". But actually, the arrangements are past. It's the event which is future, and we're at a point somewheere between the start and finish. Other examples :

I'm flying to New York on Oct. 5th - ie I bought the tickets last week (start of the event), it's now late september (in the middle) and go to New York tomorrow (end of the event)

I'm working late on Friday - Yesterday I agreed to work late (start of the event) it's now Wednesday (mid point) and Friday evening will find me slaving in the office (end point)
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 27th, 2007, 01:24 pm
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Default Re: present progressive

Thanks for the reply but what I really wanted to know is when you can't use the present progressive for future meaning. Are there special times when you should use will and not the present progressive.
Thank you.
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Unread Sep 28th, 2007, 01:51 am
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Default Re: present progressive

Sorry, I obviously misunderstood your question. I thought you were asking when we use the progressive form OTHER THAN for the future.

Very briefly, other future forms are:
1. 'Going to' for intentions\plans. eg I'm going to have a party for my 18th birthday. (It's my intention to do this but as yet nothing has been arranged.) Compare this to I'm having a party for my 18th (It has been arranged\confirmed). It's also used for predictions. eg John's driving very fast and it's raining. He's going to crash.

2. 'Will' is used in a variety of ways. a) Also for predictions. eg I think Polly will fail her exam. b) For promises eg I promise I'll call you when I get there. c) offers of help eg 'I'm stuck on my homework.' 'Don't worry, I'll help you'. d) Spontaneous decisions. eg 'Did you know that U2 are playing next month?' 'Really! I'll get us a couple of tickets!'

3. Present simple. This is used for timetables and fixed schedules. eg The London-Liverpool Express leaves at 21.00 and arrives just before midnight. Don't be late - the lesson starts at 15.00.

That's just a brief outline. I suggest you check a reference book for a more detailed explanation.

Hope that helps.
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Unread Sep 29th, 2007, 12:08 pm
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Default Re: present progressive

You'll find an article explaining will here nunzia, and another one contrasting it with Be going to here. Or if you look back to older posts in this forum, you'll find it's been covered a couple of times.
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