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6-Expressing futurity & subjunctive mood


Lecture 6
? Means of Expressing Future Time ? Subjunctive mood

Means of Expressing Future Time
? In its long history, English has not developed a special verb form that

might be rightly labeled FUTURE TENSE corresponding to the time/tense parallel for present and past. However, when we say English has no future tense, we certainly do not mean that English cannot express future time. In stead, there are a number of constructions that can be used to denote futurity in English, (e.g. by means of modal auxiliaries, semiauxiliaries, simple present and present progressive). The present lecture will be dealing with these future expressions.

Are will/shall modal auxiliaries or future tense auxiliaries?
? Consider the following sentences, what meanings does will/shall convey in them? future Volition/determination ? I shall be twenty on Friday. consultation determination ? Where shall I meet you? ? I shall send my two boys to Harvard. Persistence ? We shall fight the enemy to the last drop of our blood. ? He will do it whatever you say. Habit / daily routine ? Every morning she will sit here reading newspaper. speculation ? Who’s knocking? That’ll be John. Future/volition ? Oil will float on water.(= Oil floats on water.) ? John will come tomorrow. Objectivity

Are will/shall modal auxiliaries or future tense auxiliaries?
? Please don’t phone him. He will be having a meeting at the moment. The train will be arriving at two o’clock.
Assumption about present happening

? He will have received my letter by now.
Assumption about past event

? You’ll have been wondering all this time how my invention works.
Assumption about present happening

Are will/shall modal auxiliaries or future tense auxiliaries? ? As shown in the above-mentioned examples, will/shall are more often used as modal auxiliaries than as the so-called “future tense auxiliaries”. In addition to futurity, they express a variety of modal meanings. They may even express the speaker’s assumptions about a present happening or even a past event that have nothing to do with future time at all. Therefore, we prefer to accept the postulation that there is no future tense in English.

Means of expressing future time
? ? ? ? ? 1) Will/shall + infinitive 2) Will/shall + progressive/perfective infinitive 3) Be going to + infinitive 4) Present progressive 5) Simple present

Will /shall + infinitive
? The modal auxiliary will with subjects of all three persons and the infrequent modal auxiliary shall with a first person subject are commonly used to indicate futurity, e.g. Prediction ? You will feel better after taking this medicine. ? I’m sure I shan’t be late again. Intention ? I promise to pay him back in time, but he won’t lend it to me. Volition ? Note: The future meanings expressed by these auxiliaries are very often colored by modal meanings from prediction to intention and volition.

Will /shall + progressive infinitive
? To express colorless, pure future, i.e. without being colored by volition or intention: ? I shall be coming to see you soon. ? Will you be going home this spring festival? ? The flight will be taking off at 10:30.

? To denote an action that is still going on at a given future time: ? I will be working in Geneva during May.

Will /shall + perfective infinitive
? Compare the following sentences. ? They will have finished this project by the end of next month. The project has been completed. ? By the end of next month I shall have been working on this project for two years.
The work on the project is till gonging on.

Do the following “wills” indicate futurity? ? He won’t be working now. ? Hurry up. They will have been waiting. ? He will have received my letter by now.

Be going to + infinitive
? To denote an intention of doing something in the near future, e.g. ? He’s going to be a doctor when he grows up. ? He’s not going to cheat me again. (=I won’t let him cheat me again.)

Be going to + infinitive
? To denote prediction about future happening, will + infinitive differs from be going to + infinitive in that the former implies what the speaker thinks or believes will happen while the latter implies that there are signs that something will happen, e.g. ? Look at the black clouds, there’s going to be a storm. ? My god! I must hurry. I’m going to be late.

Be going to + infinitive
? Compare “will + do” and “be going to do” in expressing intention: ? A: Why are you taking down all the pictures? ? B: I’m going to repaper the room. *I will repaper the room. ? A: What a terribly heavy box! ? B: I’ll help you to carry it. *I’m going to help you to carry it. ? Note: When expressing intention, “be going to do” implies a predetermined /pre-mediated intention, while “will do” implies intention that comes up from the immediate situation.

? The present progressive can express an action that will happen in the near future according to a present arrangement, plan ( i.e. a future happening anticipated at the present, often found in verbs of movement), e.g. ? They are leaving on Saturday. ? The plane is taking off at 6. ? The delegation is arriving tomorrow. ? Present progressive and be going to are sometimes used interchangeably . Compare: ? She is getting /going to get married ? We are having / going to have fish for dinner. ? But we say: We are going to a concert tonight instead of we are going to go to a concert tonight.

Present progressive

Simple present
? The simple present can express future happening in adverbial clause, e.g. ? I will tell her as soon as she comes back. ? If weather permits, we will go to the countryside this weekend. ? In main clauses, the simple present can denote an immutable future event predetermined by a timetable or a schedule which is very definite and unalterable , e.g. ? She retires next month. ? Tomorrow is Sunday. Tomorrow is another day. ? Next Christmas falls on a Thursday.

Means of expressing past future
? ? ? ? ? 1) would + infinitive 2) was/were going to + infinitive 3) was/were to + infinitive 4) past progressive and simple past 5) was/were about to + infinitive

would + infinitive
? Consider the following sentences, tell the difference in their ways of expressing past future. ? He said he would come back the next day. ? He never imagined that some day he would be living away from his motherland.Still lived away at that time ? He said he would have finished his thesis by the end of next month. Thesis completed at that time ? He said that by the end of May he would have been studying medicine for three years.
Study continued at that time

was/were going to + infinitive
? He said he was going to buy a villa when he retired.
Intention in past future

? Last Sunday we were going to have a basketball game but it rained.
Unfulfilled intention

was/were to + infinitive
? They said they were to leave at six.
Action planed in past future

? We were to have left but it rained cat and dog.
Unfulfilled plan or arrangement

? They kissed goodbye in tears, knowing that they were never to meet again.
Denoting a past destiny

Past progressive and simple past
? They said that they were leaving at six.
Action planed in the past

? He promised he would tell her everything if his demands were met.
Simple past denotes past future in adverbial clause of condition

? She told me that she would come to see me when she visited China in winter.
Simple past denotes past future in adverbial clause of time

Was/were about to +infinitive
? I felt that something terrible was about to happen.
To express the immediate future in the past

? We were about to start when it began to rain.
To denote an unfulfilled intention

? The prisoner was about to escape when the policemen appeared before him.
To denote an unfulfilled intention

Subjunctive mood
? MOOD, as a grammatical category, is a finite verb form that indicates whether an utterance expresses: ? a fact (indicative mood), ? a command or request (imperative mood), ? or a non-fact and hypothesis (subjunctive mood).

Subjunctive mood (lecture 16)
? BE-subjunctive ? WERE-subjunctive

BE-subjunctive
? BE-subjunctive is realized by the base (original) form of the verb. ? 1) Used in that-clause to express a command, decision, suggestion, etc. ? After such verbs as order, decide, decree, demand, require, insist, suggest, recommend, propose, etc., e.g. ? He ordered that all books be sent at once. ? We propose that someone neutral take the chair. ? After such adjectives as advisable, appropriate, desirable, essential, imperative, fitting, important, proper, etc. e.g. ? It is essential that all the facts be examined thoroughly. ? It is obligatory that each member observe the rules.

BE-subjunctive
? After such nouns as decision, decree, demand, instruction, requirement, order, suggestion, proposal, resolution, etc., e.g. ? The board has given instructions that the agent fly to Boston. ? We were faced the demand that this tax be abolished. ? This use of be-subjunctive is quite common in formal style, esp. in Am. E. Compare: ? He ordered that the books be sent at once. ? He ordered that the books should be sent at once. ? He ordered the books to be sent at once.

BE-subjunctive
? 2) Used in adverbial clause introduced by if, though, whatever, so long as, whether, lest, etc., e.g. ? If the rumor be true, everything is possible. ? Quietly we sat on the river bank lest the fish swim away. ? Whatever be his defense, we cannot tolerate his disloyalty. ? This use of be-subjunctive is limited to formal style, compare their less formal counterparts: ? If the rumor is true, everything is possible. ? Quietly we sat on the river bank lest the fish should swim away. ? Whatever his defense may be, we can’t tolerate his disloyalty.

BE-subjunctive

? 3) Used in some formulaic expressions to express a wish, prayer, curse, etc., e.g. (See more on P182) ? Long live Chairman Mao! ? God bless you! ? So be it. ? God damn it! ? Heaven forbid! ? Home is home, be it ever so homely. ? Suffice it to say that… ? Far be it from me to spoil the fun.

Were-subjunctive
? Were-subjunctive has only one form were, which applies to subjects of all persons. The were-subjunctive is hypothetical or unreal in meaning and is used: ? 1) in some adverbial clause introduced by if, if only, as if, as though, though, etc., to denote unreal condition or concession, e.g. ? If I were you, I wouldn’t go to the party. ? Though the whole world were against me, I would do what I consider as right. ? He talks excitedly as if he were the main speaker. ? He spoke to me as if I were deaf.

Were-subjunctive
? 2) in some nominal clause after verbs like wish, would rather, suppose, imagine, etc., to denote a hypothetical situation, e.g. ? I wish I were a bird now. ? I’d rather I were not at the site of the accident. ? Suppose the earth were flat. ? In less formal style, were-subjunctive with first and third person singular subjects is often replaced by indicative was. But it will always be were in the set phrase “as it were”, “if I were you” as well as in inverted conditional clause. Compare: ? I wish I was 18 now. ? I’d rather I wasn’t at the site of the accident. ? Were I to do it, I should rely on you.

More about expressing hypothetical meanings
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 1) use of past tense verb forms, e.g. It is (high) time you went home. I’d rather he lied / had lied on this issue. If only I knew / had known her address. He talked eloquently about the accident as though she had witnessed the whole thing. I wish I hadn’t eaten so much last night. 2) the use of past tense modals, e.g. If she had been invited, she would have attended the meeting. But for his help, I couldn’t have achieved anything. For more examples refer to the course book.

Assignments
? Intensive reading of the relevant sections. ? Completion of the exercises. Thanks you for your attendance!


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