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The following context is given:

Two friends are talking about by-time. One of them want to express very strong decision of to swim the next year. How it can be said?

My understanding: I think it is a fixed arrangement. This implies we can use Present Progressive to express that:

I'm swimming the next year.

But how to express very strong decision? Will this sentence express very strong decision, if we emphasize to be+ swimming during the speaking?

  • "I'm swimming the next year." is weird! Also, what do you mean by swimming? Taking part in a competition or learning swimming? – Maulik V Jul 7 '14 at 6:40
  • @MaulikV learning swimming – Dmitrii Bundin Jul 7 '14 at 6:48
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    Present be-Ving is OK for a future action in the near future, with next year it really sounds weird, even if decision is strong, as you say. I'd much rather say "I'll learn (be learning) to swim next year". – None Jul 7 '14 at 8:52
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    @DmitryFucintv Yes, that's correct. For sure means the same here as definitely or certainly. Note also that I'll is a contraction of I will, placing it in the future tense. – Esoteric Screen Name Jul 7 '14 at 17:06
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    It's correct but not necessary if you use will, will here shows a strong decision has been made. – None Jul 7 '14 at 17:09
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As Laure notes, next year can be considered a bit too far in the future for present tenses. However, it would not be uncommon to hear something like this in colloquial conversation:

Next year, I'm learning how to swim.

I prefer using will here, because the action is in the not-so-near future. Will also conveys a powerful sense of certainty or determination when properly stressed:

I will be learning how to swim next year.

You can also add definitely or a similar emphasizer to highlight the strength of the decision.

I've stuck with progressive tenses as that's what's mentioned explicitly in the question. They suggest that the learning will be a somewhat involved or longer process, and also leave open some possibility that it will not be completed by the end of the next year.

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  • "Will be learning" isn't a common construction in spoken English. Simple future tense "I will swim" is actually quite emphatic to an English speaker. – wordsmythe Jul 7 '14 at 18:02
  • What about "I'm going to take swim lessons next year"?. Is not "be+going+to" for plans? – Alejandro Veltri Jul 7 '14 at 20:43
  • @rewobs Yes, that indicates a plan. – Esoteric Screen Name Jul 8 '14 at 0:42
  • @wordsmythe As I wrote, I left it in progressive tense because that was a distinct choice made by the OP and carries different nuances than the simple. Will be gerund is a common construction where I'm from; perhaps that's a regional difference. And "quite emphatic" is an overstatement. Naked, unemphasized will does indicate a definite decision, but it does not suggest the sort of determination and resolve that were requested. – Esoteric Screen Name Jul 8 '14 at 0:46
  • @EsotericScreenName, I don't think the OP was making a choice so much as asking if their understanding was correct. My interpretation (and I'll grant that this will differ depending on where one is in the English-speaking world) of "will be swimming" matches the idea of an appointment, but not the idea of "strong decision." – wordsmythe Jul 9 '14 at 15:28
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Swimming is not synonymous with learning to swim: you would have to explicitly state that.

Colloquially, I would say:

I'm definitely learning to swim next year.

You might also say:

I'm definitely going to learn to swim next year.

Definitely implies a firm decision.

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One could also say "by next year, I will have learned to swim."

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  • This meaning is slightly different from the original: having finished learning how to swim by next year (yours) versus being in the process of learning next year (question's). But I do agree that the use of will is called for here. – Esoteric Screen Name Jul 7 '14 at 16:19
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If you say,

"I'm learning to swim next year."

It usually implies you have already enrolled in a course, paid your fee, unavailable.

Likewise if a woman declines a man's offer to go out on a date on Saturday night claiming the old, put-down excuse, "I'm washing my hair on Saturday Night," she means that her hair-washing plans are pretty much already a foregone conclusion.

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