english is odd

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  • english is odd
  • alpin
    Member

    can people tell what the difference is between:

    “the train will be arriving at the station”

    and

    “the train will arrive at the station”

    anyone know where the difference lies other than “be” and “-ing”

    tried to explain it to some german the other day but couldn’t….

    J

    I used to teach English. It’s an utter mess of a language! (One of the reasons I love it so much!)

    For example, the “-ough” word ending can sound so very different; plough, cough, lough

    Moses
    Member

    “-ough” has 8 different sounds, I think.

    AS for the “be arriving” – the use of the future continuous tense indicates that the arrival will be a process and not instantaneous. That said, there’s no practical difference in the two verb phrases.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    As the sentence is not complete it makes it harder to explain but it’s to do with flexibility as in not a fixed situation.

    “The train will be arriving about 15.00” Not a definite time for the train to arrive

    opposed to

    “The train will arrive at the station at 15.00” of course this would only happen in Germany or Switzerland so hence your friends confusion.

    Least that’s how I understand it.

    gecko76
    Member

    Simple answer is English has no future tense as such. I teach English as a Second Language and the standard explanation is it’s dependent on factors such as certainty of knowledge and who shares that knowledge.

    So ‘The train arrives at the station every day’.

    ‘I expect the train will arrive in the next five minutes’.

    ‘I know the train is going to arrive soon because the signal has just changed’.

    ‘The train will be arriving at 18.02 at Platform 5 according to the timetable’.

    It’s a great job, and always open to interpretation!

    Premier Icon funkynick
    Subscriber

    Drac… so what about:-

    “The train will be arriving at 15:00”?

    Surely in your examples the difference in meaning is all down to the about/at difference…

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    There probably isn’t any real distinction on an everyday basis, although, to my ears, the former sounds a little more colloquial than the latter. Accordingly, I would use the latter.

    For me: the former describes the process of pulling into the station and does not imply anything happening beyond that; the latter suggests that there is a moment of arrival, and then something else happens. I am sure that’s just trying to see a difference that isn’t really there.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    Yeah “the train will arrive at the station” doesn’t make any sense in English. The correct English would be “The train might arrive at the station”.

    Hairychested
    Member

    Simple will future tells you what is to happen for certain. Will be + gerund (past participle) tells you about an ongoing process. So:
    will arrive at 3pm – it’ll be at the station ready to get rid of paying fools.
    will be arriving at 3pm – at 3pm it’ll be happening but God knows when it’ll finish (if at all).

    England will win the Football World Cup – yeah, dream land.
    England will be winning the WC – possibility, but then in 89th minute Ronaldinho will lob the goalie and then, in extra time, James will faul in his own box and the penalty will be scored by a Brazilian, so England will loose 2:1.

    Makes sense, huh?

    alpin
    Member

    gecko, where do you teach?

    mogrim
    Member

    (Ex-English teacher here…)

    The first seems to refer more to a particular train (for example today’s), while the second is more general (i.e. all days).

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Surely in your examples the difference in meaning is all down to the about/at difference…

    It is as they make it more specific, Alpin’s post as GrahamS pointed out makes no sense.

    “The train will be arriving at 15:00”?

    Because “The train will be arrive at 15.00” is not the same context as OP try to use it Gecko explains it better than I did though.

    coffeeking
    Member

    I dont think a train can be “arriving” – to me a train either has arrived or it hasnt, otherwise it is approaching its arrival?

    gecko76
    Member

    Present continuous can be used for future arrangements (e.g. I’m flying to New York next week), not so much for timetabled events (The train is arriving tomorrow).

    Currently working in Edinburgh, before that Thailand, China and Indonesia.

    alpin
    Member

    tefl?

    what’s it like?

    and what qualifiaction of tefl?

    gecko76
    Member

    Tefl/tesl’s brilliant, a real ideas-rich environment is how my tutor put it.

    I did the trinity Cert tesol which is similar to the Cambridge tesl but has a bit more focus on pronunciation. Both equally recognised. Recently completed the Diploma which you’ll likely need for work in the UK but either cert’s good enough for overseas if you have a degree (any subject). Other routes also available.

    email me username@gmail if I can be any help.

    alpin
    Member

    cool. thanks. will be doing CELTA course in feb. feel like a bit of a fraud. i can speak and write good english and correct people but don’t really know why something sounds right or looks wrong. many of the other people on the course are foreign and english is their second language. i understand german grammar better than english having learnt it from scatch.

    hopefully the course should help make things a little clearer.

    J

    Roter Stern
    Member

    The train will be arriving at the station is the future continuous as someone already said. In this case it is often used by train guards, airline captains etc. to reassure the passengers that all things that will happen for the duration of the journey are in the normal course of events for that journey. Example: ‘We will be flying at around 40 000 ft, and will be arriving at Heathrow at 2pm local time’

    The train will arrive is ‘will’ or future simple which in this case expresses a future fact in a neutral way, that is the speaker has no feelings about it.

    simonfbarnes
    Member

    what is it about the names of tenses that makes them so deliciously opaque ?

    future imperfect
    past indicative
    subjunctive

    I have no idea what they mean. Perhaps it’s a bit like “Mornington Crescent” ? A name can be evocative even if it has no referent 🙂

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