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Grammar tells us that Present Simple, Future Simple, Present Continuous, Future obligation, and "Going to" can all speak about the events that take place in the future. But for near future events what is better to use and what is correct?

  • The shop opens at 8am tomorrow morning.
  • The shop will open at 8am tomorrow morning.
  • The shop is opening at 8am tomorrow morning.
  • The shop is going to open at 8am tomorrow morning.
  • The shop is to open at 8am tomorrow morning.

What about Present Continuous, Future obligation, and "Going to"? Can we use them for objects and things? I've known so far that this is wrong.

  • The bus is leaving in ten minutes. (Wrong)
  • The bus is going to leave in ten minutes. (Wrong)
  • The bus is to leave in ten minutes. (Wrong)
  • The bus leaves in ten minutes. (Correct)
  • The bus will leave in ten minutes. (Correct)

Edit. A few more sentences add to the list:

  • The bus shall leave in ten minutes.
  • The bus should leave in ten minutes.
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    Actually, none of those sound wrong to me. Some are more common than others, but all of them are grammatically correct and understandable. Particularly the bus is leaving in ten minutes - that sounds perfectly natural, like something I would say myself.
    – stangdon
    Apr 7, 2017 at 22:13
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    @SovereignSun, In that sense, the plane or the bus could be understood as metaphors (metonymy). By the same line of argument, I assume, you could reason, the bus lacks will.
    – Hector von
    Apr 7, 2017 at 23:38
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    If you talk about obligation, I would add "should leave/open" to the list. Otherwise you answered your question already. I'm just not quite sure about the correctness of of the continuous forms ... thinking about it, in the chosen examples they are most fit, because you talk about a repeated action, only the time frame is a matter of interpretation then, e.g. "in ten minutes (every day at that time)".
    – Hector von
    Apr 7, 2017 at 23:43
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    Another variant to highlight the aspect of achievement combined with recurrence: "is to be leaving"
    – Hector von
    Apr 7, 2017 at 23:52
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    @SovereignSun Maybe it's because you use the full form is/are going to. Try it with the 's and you may find more results. (I just did a quick search for "this country's going to be", and found many results.) Apr 8, 2017 at 0:42

1 Answer 1

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Future indicative:

The bus is leaving in ten minutes. grammatical

The bus is going to leave in ten minutes. grammatical

If things go as usual or if things are to go well:

The bus should leave in ten minutes it usually leaves then.

The bus should leave in ten minutes. or it will be late

Requirement:

The bus is to leave in ten minutes. This bus must leave in 10 minutes

The bus shall leave in ten minutes. ditto†

The contract states that "Supplier shall deliver the merchandise not later than the 15th day of each month" and that "Customer may terminate this agreement early without penalty should Supplier ever fail to make a timely delivery."

†Some speakers use shall as well with future indicative. That is exceedingly rare in AmE.

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  • What about the other variants? And how about the "The bus leaves in 10 minutes"? Apr 8, 2017 at 10:41
  • Is that your downvote?
    – TimR
    Apr 8, 2017 at 10:42
  • Yes. And this answer doesn't exactly help me. Why are the first two grammatical? Apr 8, 2017 at 10:47
  • I'm addressing only the inaccuracies in your question. Give reasons for your downvotes.
    – TimR
    Apr 8, 2017 at 10:47
  • They're grammatical because they're grammatical. Your question reveals a deep ignorance of the nature of grammar.
    – TimR
    Apr 8, 2017 at 10:48

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