The Future is Now?

I heard a meteorologist talking about weather that was going to happen later in the day and the next day, that is, going to happen in the future, so it was confusing when she said It does get better at the end of the day and It’s a little bit better tomorrow morning.

Instead of using the present tense to describe things that were going to happen in the future, she should have said It WILL get better at the end of the day and It WILL BE a bit better tomorrow morning since those things hadn’t happened yet. That’s why it’s called a forecast—it’s a prediction, which means it’s for the future.

Using the present tense to describe what’s going to happen has become very popular, especially on television and especially by weather talent and sports broadcasters. Despite what anyone might think, the future is NOT now, and using the present tense to talk about something that will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, or 10 minutes from now makes a bad impression.

I’ve heard it said that the present tense is the power tense; I suppose that means that words in the present tense have more of an impact than words in the future tense. If you have to depend on using the wrong tense in order for your words to be powerful and effective, however, then maybe your choice of tense isn’t your biggest problem—maybe it’s your choice of words.


Sherry’s Grammar List and Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

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One Response to The Future is Now?

  1. paulmct says:

    This is just another example of broadcast news ‘efficiency’. I’ve noticed, and been annoyed by, a trend over the past few years of television news readers sounding like newspaper headlines. They leave out the little words to shorten the time devoted to a sentence or story, and also to make it easier for the reader to keep up with the teleprompter. In the case of your example, the simple present is one word, but the future is two.

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