French Language

Topic has 15 replies.
Print Search Sort Posts:

Will be + ing?

Having no education in english grammar so am not able to tell you what the tense is in English but it is used to describe what will be happening at a certain time in the future.

I will be cutting the grass when you arrive.

They will be crossing the equator on Tuesday.

No point asking me for help I will be working that day.

Etc etc.

I dont think that there is a way of expressing this in French, I use the futur antérieur but that describes an action that is completed before another future action, "quand tu arriveras j'aurai fini mon boulot" etc, - is there a way of expressing a future continous action?

Many thanks

Editted, I have just thought of how in speech I unconsciously work around this but I am sure it is not good French, - "quand tu arriveras je serai au boulot"


   Report   Reply Quote

Re: Will be + ing?

Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]

You have just reminded me of someone wanting my husband when I could speak next to no french.

'mon epu pas la,  travail.' and they understood.

I manage rather better than that now and the joy of speech is that the endings on so many of the conjugaisons sound the same.

 

I'll let the cleverer people on here help with 'proper' written french'.  And if I was telling someone that I'd be at work when they arrived, it sounds perfectly fine to me.


   Report   Reply Quote

Re: Will be + ing?

 

   Report   Reply Quote

Re: Will be + ing?

This is an interesting problem you are raising. However, I wonder whether you are approaching it from the right direction.

The important thing, surely, is that your intentions and thoughts are accurately presented rather than that every word is rendered in the translation. For instance, your example "They will be crossing the equator on Tuesday." How, in every essential, does that differ from "They will cross the equator on Tuesday"?

English is a largely uninflected language, instead of having word endings to convey meanings as French does, English uses additional words. This is due to English's germanic origins. The arrival of the Normans added different structures. In consequence, by mixing the two language systems, English sometimes presents a flexibility which French does not possess.

Rather than translating the words, why don't you translate the idea?

I'm sorry if this sounds like preaching, that's not my intention, I'm just suggesting a different approach to your problem.


   Report   Reply Quote

Re: Will be + ing?

I think your examples show two different kinds of action in the future, and they would be expressed differently in French.

"I will be cutting the grass when you arrive" describes what you will be in the middle of doing when a certain event takes place.  For this I agree with pachapapa, although you would have to put être in the future: I would say je serai en train de couper l'herbe...

I don't think the others are quite the same.  They just say that something is due to happen on a particular day.

"They will be crossing the equator on Tuesday."

"No point asking me for help; I will be working that day."

I suggest you would just use the ordinary future tense, or the alternative with aller:

Mardi ils passeront l'équateur  or perhaps  mardi on va passer l'équateur.

Je vais travailler ce jour-là 
(or maybe: je dois travailler ce jour-là  which suggests "I'm sorry but I have to."

   Report   Reply Quote

Re: Will be + ing?

Thank you all for your thought provoking replies, not taken as preaching at all, learning a language in isolation as I do you need a sounding board.

I use être en train de but in the present tense, in fact it was something I picked up very early on before any real formal learning confused my thought processes, I just had not made the mental connection that I could/should use it for a future continuos tense.

Yes I did pick a couple of bad examples and agree that in those the simple future tense would carry the same meaning, I had already editted them once! My thought process was something like "their fuel will run out (futur simple) on Wednesday when they are crossing the equator".

I think that "quand ils vont traverser l'equateur" is less elegant than "quand ils seront en train de traverser l'equateur" in this example.

Have I just written when they cross Ecuador? Smile [:)]


   Report   Reply Quote

Re: Will be + ing?

Yes, Ecuador, and the equator too. Smile [:)]


   Report   Reply Quote

Re: Will be + ing?

I also see no problems with Future Tense.  What you describe, Chancer, is just another way of expressing the future.

Where English is problematic is the Simple Present:  eg, I eat breakfast at 8 o'clock, doesn't mean you are eating breakfast at the time of speaking (unless it's 8 o'clock, of course!) but it describes a routine action that you perform everyday.

The Simple Present in English has a lot of uses but none of them actually describe the "here and now".

French is simpler, the use of the Present does and can mean just that, the Present.

Similarly, I don't have many problems with using the Future in French but then I am still very much at Beginner Level! 


N'allez pas trop vite - Proust
   Report   Reply Quote

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine