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  1. Past simple means a finished past action, doesn't it?

"Every summer I fell in love" implies that I don't fall in love every summer now.

"I read /red/ a book" implies that I'm not reading a book now.

  1. So does future simple mean an action that will be finished in the future?

"It will rain tomorrow." Can this activity continue beyond tomorrow?

"The Sun will rise above the horizon." Just once or potentially indefinitely?

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  • Use of the future means something is going to happen in the future. It says nothing about finishing or just happening just once, or other possible future events.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented May 10 at 10:15
  • "I used to fall in love every summer" would suggest that you no longer do. The simple past implies nothing about the present.
    – TimR
    Commented May 10 at 11:24
  • It's not that "Past simple means a finished past action". The reason "Every summer I fell in love" implies that I don't fall in love every summer now is simply because if I still did, I'd say "Every summer I falll in love". Commented May 10 at 11:56
  • ...note that, for example, "Yesterday I read the Bible" has probably never truthfully reported a "completed action" (everyone here seems to agree that it's not possible to read the entire 750,000 words in 24 hours). Commented May 10 at 12:02
  • @FumbleFingers But you can thruthfully say "I read the Bible yesterday" even if it doesn't mean a completed action, right?
    – kyadere
    Commented May 10 at 19:13

2 Answers 2

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"The Sun will rise above the horizon." simply says something about a single event that will happen. It may happen every day thereafter or not, the statement says nothing about this. Similarly "It will rain tomorrow." says nothing about whether or not it will continue to rain into the day after, or if it will rain again in the future.

Additionally (and as above), "I read a book" says nothing about whether or not you are reading a book now. It would be better to say that it does not imply that I am reading a book now.

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"I read /red/ a book" implies that I'm not reading a book now.

Does future simple* mean an action that will be finished in the future?

"It will rain tomorrow." Can this activity continue beyond tomorrow?

Not according to the speaker - he has said nothing about what the next day's weather is like.

"The Sun will rise above the horizon." Just once or potentially indefinitely?

It cannot rise indefinitely - it must set before it can rise again: it is one complete action.

The simple future implies only one action.

(i) Frequency (“The event will occur every year/at regular intervals“) and

(ii) Duration (“The perpetual motion machine will provide power indefinitely”)

of events must be expressed (unless otherwise obvious.)


**English does not have a future tense, Instead it uses a modal or auxiliary verb in the present tense and is used for.

(i) making a prediction as to the future -> "It will rain tomorrow." = “Rain” is my current prediction for tomorrow.

(ii) expressing current plan for a future action -> “I am going to buy a car tomorrow” = My current plan/intention is to buy a car tomorrow.

(iii) expressing the currently intended type of future action -> “I don’t care what you say! I shall go to the party!” = “I don’t care what you say! I am currently determined to go to the party!”

(iv) (and “I fly/am flying to Paris tomorrow” (the future present) – I currently predict that, tomorrow, I am on an aircraft in the sky heading for Paris.)*

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  • "It cannot rise indefinitely - it must set before it can rise again: it is one complete action." It can rise indefinitely in terms of repeatability.
    – Kyamond
    Commented May 10 at 20:45
  • @Kyamond hmm... it is a punctuated cycle, consisting of one action of rising. You are confusing grammar with physics/astronomy|: you know what the sun usually does, and therefore assume that it will set. For all we know, the sentence comes from an apocalyptic novel in which the sun is due to go supernova.
    – user81561
    Commented May 11 at 9:59

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