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I'm reading my lecture and I have the following sentence

We're ice skating this afternoon in the park.

My question is which tense is used in this sentence? Is it gerund?

  • Huh? What's the question? The question "what is a tense in this sentence?" doesn't make much sense. – "to skate" is the actual verb. "are skating" is the present continuous form of that verb. There's no gerund in your sentence whatsoever. – Em1 Oct 1 '14 at 12:42
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    @Em1 I think the OP is confused having the present verb are with skat-ing (gerund!) which is happening this afternoon - future. – Maulik V Oct 1 '14 at 12:44
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    @MaulikV In that sentence, "skating" is not a gerund but a present participle. In "I enjoy skating" it's gerund. – Em1 Oct 1 '14 at 12:46
  • @Em1 I spoke the OP's words. See the exclamatory mark :) – Maulik V Oct 1 '14 at 12:47
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    Broadly, if I correctly understood your question, it is the future tense of something that'll happen for sure. We often use the present verbs in that way. Consider The train is leaving the platform in 10 minutes. – Maulik V Oct 1 '14 at 12:49
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We're skating this afternoon in the park.

Let's be clear on this. The time of the ice skating is future, but the tense of the verb is present. It is not a future tense, and it is not a 'going-to' future.

The BE + -ing (present participle) form is generally labelled 'present continuous' or 'present progressive'. Some writers consider this to be a tense; others consider it an aspect of the present tense, but that is not important here.

This tense/aspect is commonly used for an action of limited duration at or around the moment of speaking, and for a future situation that has been arranged at or before the moment of speaking.

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"to ice-skate" is a compound verb and in "we are ice-skating" it is grammatically the present tense continuous". It is a confusion of terms to call it future. The present tense simple and continuous can be used with reference to near future time, mostly adverbials as next week, this afternoon are added, but that doesn't change the fact that it is grammatically present tense.

It is reasonable to distinguish between the grammatical tense and the use of this tense. Example: "Could I have some more wine, please?" In this sentence "could" is grammatically a past tense subjunctive, but it does not refer to past time. It refers to now (present time).

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We are ice-skating this afternoon in the park. It's simple future expressed in the "be-going to" (present continuous) form.

We can not call it a gerund as it has been used as a verb (present participle) in this sentence. . When we use it as a noun such as I like ice skating, we call it a grundy.

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