Replies to comments of Mr. "Anonymous" about "may-might", "will be-shall be" usages
Mr. Anonymous has commented as under:--
we might be leaving now. or
we will be leaving now.
the first one is from< friends > January 7, 2016 at 7:31 AM
REPLY by ybrao-a-donkey
If we are going to use traditional English, and want to be clear, I suggest:
We may be leaving now. (50% probability may leave, 50% probability may not leave now).
We will be leaving now. In traditional sense meant, "We are determined to go" or "We are certain to go now". Modern sense: We are leaving now. Further meanings into the sentence, the listener has to make his approximations. Traditional usage distinctions, you can see in the following discussion. If we want to stick to tradition, it will be better for us to say: We shall be leaving now. [if we are not 100% sure or bound to leave now].
MORE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE ABOVE VIEW OF MINE
There is nothing like, something is absolutely right, or something is absolutely wrong.
Everything is relative. Comparisons may take place between one style of English popular in a particular country at a particular point of time such as London, UK or New York, USa, or some other place. English has, long time back, ceased to be confined into the premises of Cambridge and Oxford.
Our choice, therefore, will have to be, to what extent we are going to be traditional or "moving along with the times".
In traditional usage, "will" and "shall" have prescribed contexts and senses, depending upon the "person" and the intended meaning:
|Shall||In first person: A sort of simple future, to mean we are planning to come, we are most likely to come. But there is no certainty or determination.||In second and third persons: Not just a simple intention to come, but there is a definiteness, determination, an imperative is intended. For example, If Employers say that "Employees shall come in time" means, they are trying to impose a duty on the employees to come in time|
|Will||In first person, when used, traditionally, a "definiteness and determination" is conveyed. Traditionally, "we will come" meant we are going to come, without dilly-dallying. But now, in the modern English, this has changed. When we say "we will" a generality is being assumed.||In second and third persons: Will traditionally meant simple future, without any definiteness, determination or imperative. In other words, in all the three persons, "has" assumed a general purpose meaning. Finally, thus, the distinction between "shall" and "will" has gradually vanished.|
Usage of "might" as past tense of "may" has gradually been replaced by use of "might" in almost all tenses. Many of us are habituated to use of "might", where "may" or "may not" , may be clearer with a 50% probability rate.
In informal communications we can use whatever we wish to.
In formal communications, we have to keep in mind, our target receivers, the purpose of the communication, and the degree of clarity required. Our ultimate goal will, of course, as usual, have to be "to get our work done".
Suppose, we tell a Restaurant Hand "You might bring Coffee" instead of "Please bring me a cup of Coffee", and if in response, a cup of Coffee is brought, probably the goal of our communication will be served.
Incomplete. May need a revision.