Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is it correct to say "If I am getting late, I will let you know"? The Conditional rules don't say anything about continuous tense. In addition, what would be a better way of conveying the same message?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

There is nothing wrong with using the continuous tense here. The reason your example sounds odd to native English speakers is that the idiom you want is "running late" rather than "getting late". We use "getting late" to mean that time has been passing, and the hour of the day is becoming late. We use "running late" to say that somebody (or something) is behind in their schedule. For instance:

It's getting late. I should go home now; we can finish this tomorrow.

I'm running late. Can we meet at 12:30 rather than noon?

So the correct way of phrasing your sentence is:

If I am running late, I will let you know.

share|improve this answer
    
Some people might use: if I was getting late, I will late you know. Is this also correct? –  user17857 Feb 5 '12 at 13:47
    
The tenses are wrong in that sentence. I can't say what it should be, since I don't quite know what you're trying to say. "If I were running late, I would have let you know" is one possibility. –  Peter Shor Feb 5 '12 at 13:51
    
You are right it sounds strange. I am trying to talk about a future event. Does your example talk about a past or future possibility? –  user17857 Feb 5 '12 at 13:55
    
With a future event, you need to use "am running late". My example talks about a present hypothetical event. –  Peter Shor Feb 5 '12 at 13:58
    
Shouldn't the second part of your example be " simple past" instead of the " present perfect"? –  user17857 Feb 5 '12 at 14:04

It would be better to say:

If I'm going to be late, I will let you know.

share|improve this answer

I wouldn´t use the continuous tense when you inform a person about a possible delay .. in this case "If I am late I will let you know " will do :) If you still want to stress the continuous action use the verb RUN instead of GET which may sound better " In case I am running late I will let you know well in advance"

share|improve this answer
    
I am not the Queen of English grammar still I think continuous tense is not that frequent to use in there. As for "I would have let you know" this is the third conditional depicting an action done in the past which you cannot take back because it has already happened using past perfect in the first part of the sentence and would + present perfect in the second" If I had seen her picture I would have never invited her for a picnic . " –  ray Feb 5 '12 at 14:55

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.