The Future is Still Not Now

I’ve written about this problem before, but it’s so pervasive that it bears repeating.

While watching the NFL pre-game show in the morning, the question was posed Who wins the game tonight? I’ve also heard on other game days Who has a better game today?, as well as Who gets the win this afternoon?

In each case, the speaker used the present tense to describe a single event that will occur in the future. This seems to be a highly popular trend, especially among broadcasters of all types—-and when I say all types, I mean weather and sports. As I mentioned the last time that I wrote about this, there’s a purpose in crafting sentences this way: Some people believe that speaking in the simple present tense makes the dialogue seem more potent and immediate.

To describe situations that have not happened yet, use the future tense. Who will win the  game tonight? Who will have a better game today? Who will get the win this afternoon?

In all three cases, the answer turned out to be the same: not the Jets.


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