https://www.duolingo.com/TwinPeaksOwl

A question to native English speakers: Future Perfect for an assumption about the past

Hello! Sorry for posting a question that has only an oblique relation to German. But I did come across it while learning Future Perfect in German (vollendete Zukunft) at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/Future/Futur.html#futureperfect

By the way, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/Grammatik.html is a pretty good online resource for German Grammar. I highly recommend it. And if anyone can recommend some other good German Grammar resources here, I would really appreciate it too :)

Anyway, Bruce Duncan, the author of the http://www.dartmouth.edu/~deutsch/Grammatik/Grammatik.html webpage, compares Future Perfect in English and in German and writes, "The future perfect tense is also used to indicate a past likelihood, one that has consequences for the present or future: 'As you will have already heard, the gym will be closed today.' 'You will have noticed that we no longer have a convertible.'"

English is my second language, and I have never heard of such a usage of Future Perfect. Honestly, in the first example Duncan provides, I would have said, "As you have probably already heard..." Or "As you probably already know..."

So my question is, Do people really use Future Perfect in such situations often? Or is it more of an obsolete usage? If people do use Future Perfect a lot to express past likelihood, could you provide me with some other more or less widespread examples of such a usage?

June 15, 2018

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/LeZacky

It's not obsolete. Other native anglos will know that this is the case. After you finish reading this comment you will have read couple of examples. To me "as you will have" expresses certainty that the listener already knows the thing which is about to be reiterated, but "as you probably already know" leaves doubt. I like sometimes using "as you will have" or similar structures because it gives the feeling that the speaker has constructed the timeline that has led to this conversation.

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TwinPeaksOwl

Okay. Thank you. What about "as you have already heard"? Let's skip "probably," so that there is no doubt. What would the difference between this phrase and "as you will have" be?

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TwinPeaksOwl

On the second thought, let's skip "probably" from the first phrase too and make it "as you already know." Does "as you will have" express more confidence than "as you already know"? Or is there any other difference?

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SasDerGrosse

I'm not an expert in English, but I think the difference between those two sentences is, as LeZacky said, "it gives the feeling that the speaker has constructed the timeline that has led to this conversation".

"As you already know" feels like the speaker knows, without a doubt, that the other person knows the topic the speaker is about to tell them.

In some cases, however, "as you will have known" feels like the speaker had a hand in telling the other person about the topic that they're about to repeat.

Again, I might've misinterpreted this, so sorry if I have!

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/npLam

(native english speaker)
I'm sure i use both, but having read your question, I find the As you will have already heard, the gym will be closed today construction curious. If i were writing it, i'm sure i would drop the you as it seems superfluous and makes me wonder why are you telling me that i will have heard something by some point in the future, when you know that i already know?
I'm not a grammarian, but i suspect that people like me just put it in because it feels good, without thinking about its "wrongness."

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TwinPeaksOwl

Thank you. That made me realize that I probably did misunderstand the timeline of the sentence. I thought that someone was saying, "As you will have already heard, the gym will be closed today." That's why I couldn't understand why someone would use a future tense for something that obviously happened in the past (I already know the gym will be closed). But maybe instead someone was actually writing this sentence. So for the writing person, the event of me hearing about the gym being closed would actually happen in the future. Probably, the same happens in case of "You will have noticed that we no longer have a convertible." It can be a written announcement...

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98

yeah in those cases it sounds kinda weird, but it can be used in some other situations, such as "by the end of the year you will have learned..."

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TwinPeaksOwl

Yes, my problem is that in your example the speaker obviously talks about the future. So I have no questions about this construction then. But in the examples above the speaker seems to be talking about something that has already happened in the past by the time of speaking. Or at least this is how I understood these sentences and the explanation behind them. And for me, it just seems very strange that someone would use a future tense to talk about the past. But maybe I don't understand some nuances of this usage or just completely misunderstand it altogether.

June 15, 2018
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