0

I believe all of the sentences are grammatically correct (I guess you could argue some are more idiomatic than others, but it's not what the questions asks). Am I right or wrong? If wrong, why?

Choose one grammatically correct answer

  • Your birthday's next month, isn't it?
  • Your birthday will be next month, won't it?
  • Your birthday is going to be next month, isn't it?

enter image description here

I passed this little test. It's from a Russian online recruitment platform. They kind of challenge you to prove you actually have C1 (I don't think it proves anything at all since it's way too short and limited in scope, but whatever). However, there was some single "wrong" answer, they claim (they don't tell me which one). It might be it, I figure

4
  • 1
    Considering that all three are grammatically correct, I'd be curious to know what they think is the wrong one. Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 14:47
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because it's asking about a stupid test (all three options are syntactically valid). Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 17:49
  • Yes, I can't help agreeing with Michael and FF. All three sentences are grammatical. Maybe the tester thinks using "will" is less idiomatic than the other two. But idiomaticity and grammar are not one and the same.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 18:38
  • 1
    The tester wants to know if you are aware that the simple present can be used to talk about future events that will certainly happen due to a calendar or similar. So the tester wants you to pick the first option. But all three are syntactically correct, and all three could be used, so this just another stupid English test question.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 21:42

2 Answers 2

2

This is probably testing if you know that the simple present can be used to refer to future events, when they happen certainly, due to a calendar or schedule. Birthdays are an example.

My birthday is in September. September is the next month after August. August is this month. Hence my birthday is next month.

You can also say "The bus leaves at 9pm" or "I graduate next year". These events are seen as being inevitable due to the bus timetable, or the University schedule.

So that is probably what this question is about. But all three are syntactically correct. All three express the same general meaning, in different ways. None of the options is clearly incorrect.

"Will" expresses future events, it is a fairly neutral future tense. "Going to" tends to be used for future events that occur as a result of present choices and conditions. "Going to" would be the least appropriate, as the birthday won't occur as a result of the choices we make today. It will happen anyway.

0

This is ultimately a question of prescriptivism vs descriptivism. In common usage, "going to be" and "will be" are used in effectively identical cases, and "is" can often be heard in many of those same cases as well. But the English grammatical prescription does make a distinction between the three:

  • "Is" should be used for the present tense. A birthday happening a month into the future would not qualify.
  • "Will" should be used for either facts about the future ("the Sun will rise tomorrow"), promises about the future ("I will help you move house next week"), predictions about the future based on beliefs or opinions, or actions or events in the future that are decided at the current moment.
  • "Going to" should be used for actions or events in the future that have either been decided beforehand, are about to happen immediately, or are predicted to occur (with less certainty than a fact) based on existing evidence.

As I said, the differences are extremely minor and quite often not followed in real-world speech, but if the test is looking for formality and pedantry, that's the distinction they're probably using. By those rules, "Your birthday's next month" is probably the most egregious violation, and the one they consider the most incorrect.

It's worth noting that by these same distinctions, the most correct answer would be "your birthday is going to be next month", since it's not a guaranteed fact (in a very sad way) but it's predicted based on existing evidence. However, that's also the option my own experience tells me is the least common in real usage.

1
  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Aug 4, 2023 at 9:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .