Future-Present Imperfect Imperative, Part 2

by | Sep 18, 2009

Further to this post, a reader has sent us an ingenious example of a novel linguistic construction that attempts to escape the constraints of the English language in order to give the impression that tentative predictions of the future are happening now:

“The fact is we are causing future contemporary climate change. [Geological hazards are] another portfolio of things we haven’t thought of,” says Bill McGuire from the Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre at University College London.

H/T Ian L


  1. geoffchambers

    Here’s another new tense for the English language – the continuous future-present – from p14 of the famous Kofi Annan -endorsed Global Humanitarian Forum report, written by a PR firm, but routinely referred to (eg recently by Caroline Lucas) as a UN report :
    “Figure 2 – The impact of climate change is accelerating over the next 20 years”.

  2. Editors

    Courtesy of a commenter – ‘potentilla’ – at the Guardian’s commentisfree site, the New Scientist quote the Met Office’s Vicky Pope.

    But some of the climate scientists gathered in Geneva to discuss how this might be done admitted that, on such timescales, natural variability is at least as important as the long-term climate changes from global warming. “In many ways we know more about what will happen in the 2050s than next year,” said Vicky Pope from the UK Met Office.


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