Sunday, September 25, 2016

Does English have a Future Tense?

It has been said that English has no future tense. What on earth does it mean? It simply means that English does not have an inflected form  of the verb to indicate future tense. In modern languages like French we can see separate forms of verbs  to indicate future tense . In French parlerai indicates future tense of the verb parler used with first person singular.There is no such inflection in English for future tense .

The Anglo-Saxons in their wisdom did not think it necessary to evolve inflected forms to indicate future .After all , future is full of uncertainties and one can look at it in different ways . An inflected form to express such a thing as future seemed untenable to the Anglo-Saxons!Simple present forms of verbs with future time reference were  enough to express future .  This way of expressing future still continues in English when we express planned future. Example: The President goes to Britain next year .

It seems that all  Germanic people think alike  In Modern German,too, simple present is used with future time reference to indicate future tense in the informal style . Modern English has only  a made-up future  tense  will+base form of the main verb . In German ,too,future is expressed with the help of the auxiliary werden followed by the infinitive of the main verb . . Look at the following examples

I will  play tennis(English)
Ich werde  Tennis spielen (German)

This shows that English is basically a Germanic language , though it often seems to shine in borrowed French feathers!


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