Suppose I want to ask a listener about whether future action happened.

I think the following construction isn't suit for the case

Will this action happened in the future?

Because I think will something/somebody + infinitve is used for giving order. Is the future progressive more suitable for the case?

  • 1
    By definition future actions can't have happened yet. You might ask whether they will happen: Will this action happen in the future? or Is this action going to happen? – Jim Aug 10 '14 at 4:57
  • @Jim But M Swan in the practical Englsih usage says that with a verb reffering to an action, will you + infinitive usually introduced an order or request. So I guess the future progressive is common in the case. – Dmitrii Bundin Aug 10 '14 at 5:12
  • 1
    But that's "will you" not "will" But you are correct, the sentence "Will you open the door?" could either be a request, a command, or a question about a future action. Only context can tell you which. – Jim Aug 10 '14 at 5:25
  • @Jim Can the future progresive be used in such the case? I mean Will this action be happening in the future? – Dmitrii Bundin Aug 10 '14 at 5:54

The sentence

Will this action happened in the future?

contains a grammatic error: Will is a modal verb, and may only be followed by a verb in the infinitive: will + happen not will *happened.

Hence, the proper form is

Will this action happen in the future?

Regarding your mention of the use of this construction in orders and requests: it depends on which words you use, and on the situation.

Will somebody/you/anybody open the window?

is likely to be a request or order, while

Will this strong wind open the window?

is clearly neither a request nor order, unless Strong Wind is the name of a person.

Will summer follow the spring?

is unlikely to be a request, whereas

Will you follow this red car?

is pretty likely to be one, especially if said to a taxi driver by a passenger.

| improve this answer | |
  • Could you possibly explain can the Future Prog be used in such case? – Dmitrii Bundin Aug 10 '14 at 5:55
  • The progressive form is used to stress the fact that the process is ongoing, that is has some duration. It will change the meaning, sometimes drastically. You'd better ask a separate question on that, with examples of sentences you want to change into the progressive. – CowperKettle Aug 10 '14 at 5:59
  • But M. Swan says that the future progressive is also used to refer to future events (without progressive meaning) which are fixed or decided. – Dmitrii Bundin Aug 10 '14 at 7:16
  • I think that "Will this action be happening in the future?" refers to something happening over a period of time. The meaning could be different with other kinds of verbs, I'm not that savvy in grammar to answer straight away. (0: – CowperKettle Aug 10 '14 at 7:37
  • 1
    Minor, minor nitpick: when presenting multiple options in English, we use the forward slash / rather than the backslash \. – snailplane Aug 10 '14 at 8:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.