Friday, 20 February 2015

Using Future Indefinite Tense through Dialogues

This page shows different ways of using the Future Indefinite Tense (or Simple Future) through dialogues from English literature.

The Future Indefinite expresses an action that will take place in the future. It may be a single point action, an action occupying a whole period of time, a succession of actions, recurrent actions in the future or a permanent future action generally characterizing the person or thing denoted by the subject. The Future Indefinite may be associated with adverbs and adverbial expressions of time or time clauses.

Illustrative Examples:

1. Catherine and Frederic are in Switzerland. There was a snow storm the day before.

Catherine: I wish I could ski. It’s rotten not to be able to ski.
Frederic: We’ll get a bobsled and come down the road. That’s no worse for you than riding a car.
Catherine: Won’t it be rough?
Frederic: We can see.
Catherine: I hope it won’t be too rough.
Frederic: After a while we’ll take a walk in the storm.
Catherine: Before lunch, so we’ll have a good appetite.
Frederic: I’m always hungry.
Catherine: So am I.

(E. Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms)


2. Mrs Vance and Carrie intend to go the theatre.

Mrs Vance: Let’s go to the matenée this afternoon.
Carrie: All right. What shall we see?
Mrs Vance: Oh, I do want to see Nat Goodwin. I do think he is the jolliest actor. The papers say this is such a good play.
Carrie: What time will we have to start?
Mrs Vance: Let’s go at one and walk down Broadway from Thirty-fourth Street. It’s such an interesting walk. …
Carrie: I’ll be glad to go. How much will we have to pay for seats?
Mrs Vance: Not more than a dollar.
(Th. Dreiser. Sister Carrie)


Note: In adverbial clauses of time and condition a future action is expressed by the present Indefinite but not the Future Indefinite.

3. During the dinner hour at school the children from well-to-do families are talking about a girl who is very poor.

Emmie Cole: Lil Kelvey’s going to be a servant when she grows up.
Isabel Burnel: Oh- oh, how awful!
Emmie Cole: It’s true – it’s true –it’s true.
Lena Logan: Shall I ask her?
Jessie May: Bet you don’t.
Lena Logan: Pooh, I’m not frightened. Watch! Watch me! Watch me now! (To Lil Kelvey) Is it true you’re going to be a servant when you grow up, Lil Kelvey?
(K. Mansfield. The Doll’s House)

4. June Forsyte comes to know that Bosinney lost the case Forsyte v. Bosinney and has to pay Soames Forsyte a ruinous sum of money. She decides to help the man she loves and asks her grandfather, Old Jolyon, to buy the house at Robin Hill that Philipp Bosinney built for Soames Forsyte. Next morning she asks him what time she should order the carriage.

Old Jolyon: Carriage! what for? I’m going out!
June: If you don’t go early, you won’t catch Uncle James before he goes into the City.
Old Jolyon: James! What about your Uncle James?
June: The house.
Old Jolyon: I’ve not made up my mind.
June: You must! You must! Oh! Gran – think of me!
Old Jolyon: Think of you – I’m always thinking of you but you don’t think of yourself; you don’t think what you’re letting yourself in for. Well, order the carriage at ten!
(J. Galsworthy. The Man of Property)