"En un rato comemos."
Translation:In a while we will eat.
"We leave tomorrow." "The performance begins in a minute." "She speaks after he does." Often, this happens with scheduled events or things in the "near future" (and that definition is up to the speaker).
All of these could be said in other ways, of course. I'm not saying that people don't say it in other ways. But, native speakers can and do use this kind of phrasing fairly often.
Edit (one year later): agreeing with mpcairney (but DL won't let me reply to his comment):
mpcairney: We only use the present simple for scheduled events, we use the present continuous for near future. "I'm switching off the phone"
We only use the present simple for scheduled events, we use the present continuous for near future. "I'm switching off the phone"
@ Mjcm94: (DL won't let me respond directly; I hope you see this response.)
English and Spanish differ a little in grammatical usage of present time and future time.
For example, in Spanish, it is perfectly acceptable to say te aviso for "I'll let you know" whereas in English (to me) "I let you know" is not the same. "I let you know" used in place of "I'll let you know" sounds foreign to me. (And now you know why you hear this from non-native speakers; it's not just that they don't know how to express the future in English.)
For me, the above sentence is most naturally translated as "We'll eat in a (little) while." For this kind of situation, we use the future and Spanish can use either the present or the future. Conversationally, I hear the present tense being used.
So ... the "will" is just to express the future in English, to make this translation more accurate even if the same tense is not being used.
Hi, you seem to know what your talking about, in this sentence where does the "will" come from? Gracias
I had the same problem, but that answers it pretty effectively. It's an annoying little thing in the English language.
"A while" (two words) is a noun phrase and can be the object of a preposition as in "for a while" or "in a while." However, "awhile" (one word) is an adverb and is only used directly with a verb or phrasal verb: "Sit and talk awhile," or "Hang out awhile."
Why ought we to translate this verb as a future-tense statement in English? I mean, that is the apparent meaning of the sentence, but if this is the proper translation, why isn't the Spanish in the future-tense, too? I've had this same issue in Italian, as well. Can it be contextually okay to translate a present-tense indicative verb from Spanish (or Italian, for that matter) into a (near) future-tense in English?
Yes. This just happens sometimes in translation. Different languages don't always use the verb tenses in the same way. English sometimes uses the simple present when another language would use the future. Fairly often, when translating the present tense from the Spanish, in English we use the present progressive.
It's like in English we say, "I am twenty years old," whereas in Spanish (and many other languages) we say, "I have twenty years." There are different ways to express the same idea.
Forgive me if this was not your question; I was also just adding to the conversation.
“In a while" isn't the exact same thing as “short time". It pretty close though. It means not right now, and not in a very long time. It is pretty general. “We are eating shortly" to me would imply that it is okay to head to the dinner table if you want, because it will happen incredibly soon. “We will eat in a while" feels more indefinite. We will be eating, I promise, but it may be in 15 minutes or maybe it will be an hour and 15. Those would both be “in a while", but I would feel deceived if somebody tried to tell me 75 minutes is “eating shortly".