6

From Ed Sheeran's song Thinking Out Loud:

And, darling, I will be loving you 'til we're 70

Why is it not

And, darling, I will love you 'til we're 70

?

Why is progressive used here?

6

From Ed Sheeran's song Thinking Out Loud:

And, darling, I will be loving you 'til we're 70

Why is it not

And, darling, I will love you 'til we're 70

Why is progressive used here?

I don't know why the author chose the progressive.

But the difference between the two is as follows:

I will love you until we're 70

Every reference to the future is somewhat of a prediction, because we are talking about things that haven't happened yet.

will + base infinitive is the most common way to refer to future time. The use of to will involves the speaker's volition.

The use of will here refers to the speaker's current resolve to carry through on a particular action. Here, the speaker is promising that he will love the person until they are 70.

I will be loving you until we are 70

Here, the reference is not to the speaker's volition. Rather, the subtle meaning is that the thing predicted will happen without the interference of anyone's volition. The predicted event will happen as a matter of course, not because someone is promising it will happen. There is a matter-of-fact attitude, as in 'Oh, by the way II'll be loving you until we're 70.'

There is a famous song called "She'll be coming 'round the mountain" which has the chorus

She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes

This is the same use of will be + present progressive. It refers to her coming around the mountain as something that will happen without the involvement or interference of anyone's will (volition). The predicted event will happen, and that is that. No reference to the subject's resolve or intention is made.

Another example:

I'll drive to New York Tuesday.

Here, this includes the speaker's will or volition. He's made a decision about the event and so his will is involved. Also the meaning expressed is that the speaker is referring to his current resolve to carry out the stated action.

By comparison,

I'll be driving to New York Tuesday.

does not really refer to the speaker's resolve, and it is not a promise; but merely a statement (prediction) of what will occur Tuesday.

So, if someone says

I'll be driving to New York Tuesday; why don't you ride with me?

The speaker is, again, mentioning the future as a matter of course. (No one has decided that I'm driving to New York Tuesday, it is just something that is going to happen.) Since the action of my driving to New York Tuesday is going to happen, my driving you to New York is no problem or trouble at all.


Note: this answer relies heaviliy on:

Leech, Geoffrey N. (2014-01-14). Meaning and the English Verb. Taylor and Francis.

  • Wonderful answer. The last piece of the jigsaw puzzle is: how can you put "love" in a progressive form when it is a stative verb? – user132181 Jan 27 '15 at 17:04
  • The use of the progressive with 'stative' verbs is increasing in English, sometimes with no apparent logic to it. Specifically, however, with the verbs enjoy, hope, like, love, one can use the progressive in such contructs as Are you all enjoying yourselves?; I'm really loving this new dress!, I was really hoping Seattle would repeat as Super Bowl champs; I never imagined that the Pats would whoop their ass like they did. :) Further detail is better left for a separate question. – user6951 Jan 27 '15 at 17:20
2

The future progressive conveys a sense of ongoing action at a particular future time or during a span of time in the future.

And, darling I will be loving you ‘til we’re 70.

1

The future progressive makes for a much more lyrical phrase.

And darling I will be loving you 'til

These two lines use the same tune, and this phrasing matches up the 'ing' sounds, the 'I' and 'you', and the 'ill' sounds.

Grammatically, he could have used either phrase, but lyrically the future progressive is a much better choice.

  • 1
    This answer makes more sense than the previous one. I am aware that the two phrases are both grammatical, but do they mean absolutely the same thing? That's the question, really. – user132181 Jan 27 '15 at 12:13
  • They mean almost the same thing. The future progressive emphasises that it's a continuing action. It's a subtle difference though. – ssav Jan 27 '15 at 12:49
1

This has nothing to do with grammar. Structurally songwriters tend to organize their sentence-structure by accent. In Sheeran's case, he says "And, darling, I will be loving you until we're seventy." It is smooth to organize over rhythm. Think of it as "and DARling I will be LOVing YOU 'til we're SEVenty." Otherwise, it becomes "and DARling I will LOVE you 'TIL we're SEVenty." It entirely alters the flow and requires a change of melody, which he probably didn't want.

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