How to use present to indicate future

KathleenA2Kwiziq community member

How to use present to indicate future

In today's quiz, A1 Beginner Focus test,  the question was what is the meaning of "Je vais au restaurant plus tard."  I answered "I am going to the restaurant later." and "I will go to the restaurant later."  The latter one was marked wrong - not equal to" I am going to the restaurant later." But in the next quiz, Question 6 , "J'arrive dans dix minutes." gives the correct answer as, "I will arrive in ten minutes."

What gives?

Asked 3 years ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Yes, that is a bit of a gray area. There are three ways to express the future in French and English:

1) Present tense: Je vais au cinéma plus tard. -- I'm going to the movies later.
2) Futur proche: Je vais aller au cinéma. -- I'm going to go to the movies.
3) Futur simple: J'irai au cinéma. -- I'll go to the movies.

They are listed in ascending order of "futureness". I think this correspondence should be reflected in grading the test answers as well.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

That's not correct, Chris, you can also use the present continuous: "I'm going to the restaurant later".

I agree with Kathleen, both answers should be marked correct. If this were a question where you had to pick a single correct answer, then you would of course choose "I'm going" in preference to "I will go" because it's the closest translation. But since you're asked to give all possible answers, I would expect "I will go" to be included, too. Or, at least, I would be uncertain about it, and rather annoyed to be marked wrong.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I agree with you, Alan, that the grading in the test is, at least, ambiguous and should be changed. On the other hand, though, the present continuous tense in English requires an adverb to connote the future, which is not present in the French original. Strictly speaking, I would say that this is a stylistic possibility to express a future event and not a grammatical one. You would need some context to use it.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Both English and French require context, the French sentence included "plus tard". If you read the question again, you'll see that the present continuous version is marked correct, the only doubt is about the "I will go" version.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

That's the "correct answer"?

Edit - I see it's now been changed so it's more accurate, but still doesn't really answer the question. Perhaps someone at Kwiziq could check whether "I will go ..." is really intended to be marked incorrect. Normally when there are questions allowing multiple answers, I think slight nuances in meaning are not considered significant.

CélineKwiziq team member

Bonjour Kathleen,

Chris explained very well the different ways of expressing the future in French.

A little bit more detail on 'I will arrive in ten minutes':

This expression (in English) express a certainty about the realisation of the action. It is definitely happening. This same certainty is expressed in 'j'arrive dans dix minutes'.

Un  pas de plus, tu es mort! one more step and you are dead! 

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée!

CélineKwiziq team member

Bonjour à tous,

Thank you all for your feedback on this particular lesson. It has now been flagged for review. 

Bonne journée!

How to use present to indicate future

In today's quiz, A1 Beginner Focus test,  the question was what is the meaning of "Je vais au restaurant plus tard."  I answered "I am going to the restaurant later." and "I will go to the restaurant later."  The latter one was marked wrong - not equal to" I am going to the restaurant later." But in the next quiz, Question 6 , "J'arrive dans dix minutes." gives the correct answer as, "I will arrive in ten minutes."

What gives?

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