gramatical question: will + be + ing

dian   Friday, August 22, 2003, 04:14 GMT
This is from

"The number of UN staff is being reduced in Iraq by about 100 and some administrative staff will be moving to bases in Jordan and Cyprus, a UN official said".

I don't understand why the writer of this article use "will be moving" instead of "will move".

mjd   Friday, August 22, 2003, 06:20 GMT
The most simple explanation I can give you is it is the gerund of the verb "to move" used with the verb "to be." They mean basically the same thing. This type of "be + gerund" is very common. In English, there is no difference between what in Portuguese would be "ser and estar." The verb "to be" is used in permanent and temporary situations.

He is a man.
He is playing tennis.

So what will the staff do?.....They will move.

What will the staff be doing?....They will be moving.

If someone were to ask you a question about a particular action at a particular time, you'd use the gerund.

"What's John doing on Friday?" "He'll be playing basketball all day."

To say "He will play basketball all day"...while this isn't incorrect, it isn't really used that often. Such a statement would make more sense in a conditional sentence......"He will play basketball all day when he finishes his work."

I hope this has made some sense to you. It's rather tricky to explain.

mjd   Friday, August 22, 2003, 06:27 GMT
Just as a follow-up to one of my examples.

If someone were to say...."What's John doing on Friday?"

You wouldn't necessarily have to use a gerund. You could just as easily say..."He's playing basketball." I say this not to confuse you, but to show you that it's hard to define rules for all of these things.
Tom   Friday, August 22, 2003, 10:55 GMT

"The number of UN staff is being reduced in Iraq by about 100 and some administrative staff will be moving to bases in Jordan and Cyprus, a UN official said".

"Will be moving" emphasizes that the move is decided or fixed.
"Will move" might suggest that the decision to move was made on the spot by the UN official -- "OK, fine, the staff will move."

"Professor Smith will be giving a lecture on monetary policy at 3 pm next Tuesday." (the lecture is in the timetable)

"You'll be hearing from my lawyer." (emphasizes it is bound to happen)
Lana   Friday, August 22, 2003, 18:15 GMT
I remember this subject from a previous thread. In my experience (in the US) there is no difference in the form used regardless of whether the decision is fixed or made "on the spot."

"You'll be hearing from my lawyer" is no more or less bound to happen than "I'll see you in court," which commonly used with exactly the same degree of intention.

"Professor Smith will be giving a lecture at 3 PM Tuesday" is exactly the same as "Professor Smith will give a lecture at 3 PM Tuesday." Neither is more definite, or planned ahead, or decided on the spot than the other.

If any other native English speakers disagree, please say so. Maybe such a distinction is made in other countries.
dian   Monday, August 25, 2003, 02:49 GMT
Thanks for the answers.

Because it is not a big problem, I can use both methods in the conversation.
Jim   Monday, September 01, 2003, 00:17 GMT
I don't think it's a big problem. I tend to favour what Lana wrote over what Tom wrote. I think mjd should have written "present participle" rather than "gerund".
Clark   Monday, September 01, 2003, 02:32 GMT
I think the difference between gerund ar present participle is that a present participle is part of the verb telling that something or someone is doing an action at present. Whereas a gerund is still a verb but different, and I canot explain it, but here is n example:

Present Participle: I am going to school.
Gerund: Reading; it is the key to understanding.
mjd   Monday, September 01, 2003, 07:09 GMT
Yeah, you guys are right. "Gerund" refers to a noun made from a verb (for example....."I find her singing to be very relaxing.") Sorry about that; I should have said participle as Jim said.


When it comes to grammar, you've always been the best at keeping us on our toes.
Clark   Monday, September 01, 2003, 07:39 GMT
Mjd, how has your summer been? Back to school for you? Or are you finished and looking for work (or already at a job)?

Bei der Weg, with your Portuguese studies, I assume you had to take another language along with Portuguese? Which did you take?

When I get to university, I thik that I wil take Spanish (but that is another year or so away [I am at community college now]).
Clark   Monday, September 01, 2003, 11:53 GMT
I was just looking at some Italian grammar on the internet, and it got me thinking about something that I have thought about before; it is interesting to note how all of the major modern Romance languages (minus Romanian) have evolved differently, but grammatically, they have done the same things.

For example, to make the future tense in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, one takes the infinitive and adds the conjugated form of "to have" to the end (well, in French this is how it is done, and even though it might not be the same for the other languages, there is a rule for the endings). The same goes for the Conditional, and for the imperfect tense, one takes the stem of the verb, and adds a set ending.

Does anyone know how and/or why this happened? It just seems very interesting to me that languages that seperated from each other could evolve differently, but in doing so, adopt the same (or very similar) methods of verb-tense conjugation.
mjd   Monday, September 01, 2003, 18:22 GMT
Finishing up the 2nd BA, Clark, so one more year for me as a part-timer.
Clark   Monday, September 01, 2003, 22:28 GMT
Ah, sounds good. So, did you have to take any other languages with Portuguese studies?
mjd   Tuesday, September 02, 2003, 03:39 GMT
Nope. I just focused on one.