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Browsing through an online store, a girl points at a certain item and says, "Wow, let's order this! They(or A courier) 'll deliver it in two hours (meaning, two hours from now, if we do order it now)!".

Can she say "will deliver it"?

I mean, the courier will, in fact, finish delivering it in two hours, having started delivering, let's say, at least half an hour before (depends on how long it takes to get here).

I'm trying to figure out how the simple form of the verb "deliver" works in English, whether it says about the whole action of delivering or only the final moment. The latter makes more sense to me, but if the former is the case, will the perfect form "will have delivered it in two hours" fix this?

  • (simple active) Wow, let's order this! They(or A courier)'ll deliver it in two hours!
  • (simple passive) Wow, let's order this! It'll be delivered in two hours!
  • (perfect active) Wow, let's order this! They(or A courier)'ll have delivered it in two hours!
  • (perfect passive) Wow, let's order this! It'll have been delivered it in two hours!
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    If you're suggesting that a company that says it will deliver an item in one day merely means they will begin the process in one day, even if it takes five days to reach the customer, no. When a company promises delivery, they mean that they will see to it that you receive the item in the stated time. And that's true even when the delivery truck is on a delivery and the driver is delivering the package while the driver is en route. We'd use the perfect, have delivered, to indicate that the delivery has been completed. Dec 13, 2023 at 19:59
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    Yes, will deliver is a promise of results. If you promise to deliver in 2 hours, I don't care about your travels or your process, I expect it in 2. Dec 13, 2023 at 20:33
  • The best choice (all of them are fine grammatically, by the way) would be based on a broader context.
    – Lambie
    Dec 13, 2023 at 21:18
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    There the transitive verb marinade (var. of marinate) is being used in a perfective sense (i.e. be finished marinating) but without the past participle in either a passive construction (have been fully marinaded) or a deverbal adjective (be marinated). It's analogous to "In three minutes the tea will steep". That usage strikes my ear as marginal. I would say "In three minutes the tea will have steeped" or "be finished steeping" or "The turkey will be done marinating in ten hours." But in sub-domains (e.g. cookery) words can develop new uses and meanings as a kind of jargon. Dec 16, 2023 at 14:29
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    If the verb is being used intransitively, you need some kind of periphrastic construction: will be done marinating, will be finished steeping. will plus the bare form of the verb (will marinate) doesn't express perfective aspect. But will plus an adjective formed from the past participle of a transitive verb (if one exists) in combination with an adverb can be used to express that notion: "will be fully (or sufficiently) marinated in ten hours". Dec 16, 2023 at 16:11

1 Answer 1

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Both are correct depending on the situation.

Deliver generally refers to the final moment when referring to the timing of parcel deliveries. However, there are other usages such as the famous "deliver us from evil" phrase in the lord's prayer and the sentence "you delivered a great speech yesterday" where the word refers to a whole action.

Welcome to English!

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  • Thank you very much! :) Yeah, "Welcome to English!" is a very suitable thing to say here ahhahahah Dec 16, 2023 at 13:38

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