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Recently I saw the movie Kung Fu panda, and there was one interesting sentence.When Oogway is about to make the decision who the Dragon Warrior will be, Master Shifu says : ' He will now choose the Dragon Warrior". Why is the adverb now used with "will" here? Does the word "now" mean "soon" here? Or is the verb will used here as a modal verb?

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  • One thing that's implied in your question, if I'm not mistaken, is that you think that being "a modal verb" and being "an auxiliary verb" are mutually exclusive, but actually it's not. A modal verb is also known as "modal auxiliary verb". Feb 21, 2016 at 3:04
  • I would not say so, I meant that if it was not used here to construct future, then it could be used as a modal verb, referring to the present moment.
    – Fatimahon
    Feb 21, 2016 at 9:03

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Why is the adverb now used with "will" here?

To specify when in the future he will choose the Dragon Warrior, namely, immediately after that proclamation.

Does the word "now" mean "soon" here?

Yes. We use "now" to refer to the present moment as well as just after the time of speaking. For example, "Get out of this room now!".

Or is the verb will used here as a modal verb?

Originally (in ancient English) "will" was a modal verb. After all, stating something about the future tends to be stating a possibility, desire or belief rather than a (past) fact. Gradually this underlying modal meaning disappeared until today it is just a helper verb used to indicate future time and nothing more. Of course, there are remnants of the modal meaning, such as in the verb "will" meaning "desire". For example, "If you will, I can come."

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  • Does it have here a modal meaning to your mind?
    – Fatimahon
    Feb 21, 2016 at 9:04
  • @Fatimahon: In this case no. This statement is made as a factual statement, one that he is certain will happen. There are other cases such as "Alright, I will go." which conveys a choice, which can be construed as modal. But here it does not seem to indicate that, because the event had clearly been planned in advance.
    – user21820
    Feb 21, 2016 at 9:09
  • And what do you think about the meaning of voluntary intention, mentioned in the first answer?
    – Fatimahon
    Feb 21, 2016 at 11:01
  • @Fatimahon: Okay I just went to have a look at the full transcript; it says "OOGWAY: I sense the Dragon Warrior is among us. SHIFU: Citizens of the Valley of Peace! Master Oogway will now choose... the Dragon Warrior!". It seems that this specific part of the event was not planned but was due to Oogway suddenly announcing that he sensed the dragon warrior. Some people do say that "will" is still used as a modal verb but others think it's more or less vanished.
    – user21820
    Feb 21, 2016 at 11:15
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    @Fatimahon Aside from the question of whether futurity is a mode or a tense, the term modal verb in English grammar designates a class of verbs with distinct morphological and syntactical properties, not distinct semantic properties. Feb 21, 2016 at 20:23
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This is a broad topic but I am going to try to keep it brief.

Use v. Usage in English

Use refers to the structure in the language and Usage usually means the way the language is employed in everyday life. So, while "will" is taught as the future tense, the usage of "will" is more common to make a prediction, a promise, or in this case, a declaration of intention. In BrE shall is used to indicate the difference between the two, but it has fallen out of favor in the US.

Anyway, it's only a cartoon, not literature.

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  • Thank you for your answer, and what do you think is the meaning of the word "now" in this sentence?
    – Fatimahon
    Feb 21, 2016 at 1:52
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    @Fatimahon: I disagree with Gandalf about the splitting of the verb. It is definitely correct English grammar to have an adverb between the helper verb and the main verb (infinitive). For example: "He will quickly realize his error."
    – user21820
    Feb 21, 2016 at 9:14

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