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Is use of present simple correct in these examples?

My daughter goes to school tomorrow [for the first time].
I go to school to talk to my daughter's teacher tomorrow [and this happens regularly].

As far as I know from books, present simple is used for actions that happen regularly, and for scheduled events, but what about the situations above? Suppose the second action may take place regularly, but not the first one. What tense would a native speaker use for an action that happens for the first time?

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Based on usage in conversation, the present simple is also used. In narrative dialogue, either sentence could be expected. If someone were to say in conversation, "My daughter goes to school tomorrow", regularity may or may not be implied. –  shermy Dec 25 '13 at 9:03

1 Answer 1

In the absence of a future tense, English has several ways of expressing the future. One is the present tense, as in ‘My daughter goes to school tomorrow for the first time’. In practice, a native speaker would probably something like ‘It’s my daughter’s first day at school tomorrow’, where the present tense also expresses the future.

Your second example is unlikely to occur in exactly that form. If it’s something you’d already planned to do, you’d say ‘I’m going to school to talk to my daughter's teacher’, because ‘going to’ + verb is how we express the future in such cases. If you’re reporting something that you regularly do, then you would use the present tense, but normally you’d add something about the frequency with which you do it, for example, ‘I go to school to talk to my daughter's teacher once a term’.

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+1 Nice answer Barrie, you have been faster then me and more precise as always :) But how about "My daughter will go to school tomorrow". She is asking which tense she should use not how to avoid future tense. In addition present continuous is used for future event when we have got arrangement. Therefore "I am talking to my daughter's teacher tomorrow." –  speedyGonzales Feb 17 '12 at 9:50
    
'Will' + verb is often used to refer to a future event that has been arranged more or less at the time of speaking. It can also be used for emphasis: 'My daughter WILL go to school tomorrow, whether she wants to or not.' –  Barrie England Feb 17 '12 at 9:59
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There is no reason whatsoever to cloud this answer with forbidden word the ‘tense’ or its attendant disputes. English very most definitely is perfectly capable of expressing the future, and it typically does this with will or shall. THAT IS ALL that people mean when they use ‘future tense’, a sense fully supported by the OED but despised by ELU. Stop being so damned prescriptive and start being descriptive. This is how 99.99998% of people everywhere use the sense of ‘tense’, and it borders on words I cannot write here to be so deceptively obstinate to forever claim otherwise. –  tchrist Feb 17 '12 at 13:46
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To illustrate what nonsense this ᴇʟᴜ TENSE insanity is,imagine asking a Frenchman on the street for what the past of parler is. He’s going to tell you it’s j’ai parlé. He’s not going to whinge about how that’s actually a present TENSE, and how you must use je parlai for the real past TENSE — because that is not how people speak. Full stop. The normal French past tense is the passé composé, and the literary past tense in French is passé simple. Both are PAST TENSES in the commonplace sense of that term as supported by the OED. Stop counting angels on pinheads. –  tchrist Feb 17 '12 at 15:08

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