AEE 949: Grammar, Tone, and the Future Tense

future tense English

Do you get confused when native speakers use the future tense?

Is it sometimes confusing when native speakers use different forms of grammar to express an action in the future.

For example, a native speaker could say: “we will be refunding you” or “we will refund you” and both would be correct.

Why?

Today we’ll work through this challenge.

Here Is a Question from a Listener

Hi there! Big thanks for your podcast. You are doing a great job. I am listening to you every week and I really enjoy it.   Today I received an email from an online store. Here is the email:

We will resend this dress with Standard delivery when it comes back to us. We will also be refunding you the difference by the end of the day today.

So I was very confused about this part:”We will also be refunding”.

I would like to know why they used continuous and in what cases I can use it myself.

I think it is possible and common to say just “we will refund…”, but it would be really great if you explain what’s the difference and the main idea of that form. I am from Russia, so English is foreign for me, that’s why I don’t really understand these nuances. I have never seen constructions like this in our books and learning materials.

Yours,

Listener

 

Different Ways To Speak About The Future

Why would we use the future tense in one part of the sentence and then the future continuous in another part of it?

There is a good reason for it AND you don’t need to stress too much about this.

It’s not a matter of being right or wrong, but it’s really a matter of TONE.

The good news is that when we add new grammar forms that indicate tone,we step up to that next level of connection.

This can be a great opportunity for you to master a sometimes confusing concept in English!

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Times When This Tense Works Better

Don’t worry if this is confusing, for it can be even to native English speakers sometimes.

Although it might be fine to say “we will refund” in this case, a native speaker might also say “we will be refunding.”

There are some specific reasons as to why you would switch like that which include:

  • Conveying a formal tone or message
  • Part of a professional communication
  • To be polite or courteous in the tone set
  • When providing very specific details
  • When guaranteeing that something is going to happen
    • Such as in the example when the customer was told that we are definitely going to refund you the money

 

This Extra Detail Can Make A Difference

When you are talking about something very specific like money, a company may wish to be super polite.

They may want you to know exactly what they are going to do.

When a company or even an individual wants you to understand the exact actions that are to be taken, then they may switch tenses like this.

Future progressive may not always be necessary, but it can make things just a little bit more formal.

 

Takeaway

By this point you are likely beyond the point of basic grammar to show tense.

This is an example of digging into more subtle grammar choices to convey slight tones, ideas, motivations,  and feelings

By implementing uses of grammar like this into your English you could really get to the next level of connection.

Take it slow and really listen for this tense switch up.

Know that you don’t have to learn everything all at once.

Be aware that this occurs and you’re headed in the right direction.

Remember in this instance and with so many others that it’s about Connection NOT Perfection!

 

Please leave your questions below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you soon.