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Assuming I turned on the washing machine and I'm waiting until it finished (?). What's the idiomatic choice out of the following ones (if any...) when I'm telling my friend about my plan now:

  1. I'll wait until the washing machine will finish.

  2. I'll wait until the washing machine will end.

  3. I'll be waiting until the washing machine (or simply: it) will be done.

  4. I'll be waiting for the machine to be ended / finished / done.

I'm not sure how to phrase what I want to say, sounding natural.

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  • 3
    I would probably say "I'm waiting for the wash cycle to finish." Jul 31, 2023 at 18:56
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    @Kate Your suggestion sounds simple and nice. Thanks. So 'to finish' in your example means 'to be finished', right? Jul 31, 2023 at 19:46
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    It means 'to come to an end'. Jul 31, 2023 at 20:41
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    None of the versions with "will" are correct. In each case, replace the "will"-form with present simple to make them at least grammatically correct.
    – gotube
    Aug 1, 2023 at 1:07
  • Where is the washing machine? Is it in your home or in a laundrette? And for context, why do you have to wait until the washing has been done? I have gone to bed many a time while the washing machine was running, to then wake up the next morning and hang the damp laundry out.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 1, 2023 at 5:06

3 Answers 3

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When referring to future time in dependent clauses, you typically use the present tense. There's no need for the future progressive in the main clause here. When describing washing machines, "finish" and "do" are, I think, more common than "end." So you would say:

I'll wait until the washing machine's finished

Or:

I'll wait until the washing machine's done.

If you're waiting currently, you would use "I'm waiting" rather than "I'll wait."

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  • And in OP's 3/4 the "I'll be waiting" would refer to doing the washing sometime in the future, not now. Jul 31, 2023 at 18:35
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None of these are quite correct. =/

Try I'll wait until the washing machine is finished.

or

I'll wait until the washing machine finishes.

Think of it like this:

[I'll wait...] - the time sense of this clause is "now", the speaker's present. The action in this clause happens relative to "now", so if we want to describe an event in the future, we must use the future tense.

[until...] - we introduce a new time sense for what comes after "until", that is sometime after "now". Actions in this clause happens relative to the specific moment "sometime after 'now'", so it's OK to use the present tense to refer to this time.

Using this way of thinking, we can see we can also make sense of other uses of tense such as "I'll be waiting until the washing machine has finished."

"I'll be waiting" - ongoing present action, relative to "now"

"the washing machine has finished" - currently completed past action relative to the second time sense, which is "sometime after 'now'".

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I'll wait until the washing machine is done before I put the clothes in the dryer.

Put the emphasis on the completion of the wash cycle.

I'll be waiting until the washing machine is done because I don't want the clothes to sit wet.

Puts the emphasis on you waiting. This also implies you will be in close proximity to the washing machine.

Your examples are not technically wrong, but they put the focus on the machine finishing it's cycle which is less relevant than the actual washing being done.

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  • "This also implies you will be in close proximity to the washing machine." I don't think this is true at all. "Ill be waiting for you to write." Is the speaker in close proximity to the listener?
    – BadZen
    Aug 1, 2023 at 0:36
  • Please remain kind and topical. Do you think the speaker is in close proximity to the listener in my example above? To wit: If the speaker of your example were sitting in a lounge chair by the pool, would they be waiting by the pool?
    – BadZen
    Aug 1, 2023 at 0:41
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    Downvoting is not unkind, and I explain my reasons in both cases. I just want you to fix the very bad grammar in this answer so that readers / learners are not confused by seeing it. (Retributive / serial downvoting, on the other hand, is prohibited / not helpful.) Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – BadZen
    Aug 1, 2023 at 0:54
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    @BadZen "This also implies you will be in close proximity to the washing machine." I don't think this is true at all. How else would a person know when the machine has finished washing? You have to be in the same house as the washing machine before you can take out the load. You have to be at home before you tell someone "I can't come until the machine's finished". Obviously no one is obliged to be home or in the same room while their laundry is being done, but the OP's request heavily hints that's where they are.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 1, 2023 at 4:51
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    @Mari-LouA While it might a be good idea, likely, or logical that the speaker "remain near the washing machine", this is different than the claim that the language itself implies that the speaker will. Since the comments above, the example was edited to add some more intention ("I don't want the clothes to sit wet"), but this still falls short of that /meaning/. Also, note that the original question doesn't even make it clear that we're talking about a clothes washer. We should avoid unnecessary inferences when explaining language to learners, so that they can avoid unintended meaning later.
    – BadZen
    Aug 1, 2023 at 7:22

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