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I am reading a book "Second hand" by Michael Zadoorian in which a boy visits his ex girlfriend in the hospital as she attempted suicide. There is a sentence which creates some difficulty to me: "They are going to be letting me out next week". I don't understand why the author used the verb to be in "to be letting me out". Is this correct? I thing it should be "they are going to let me out next week."

This is the context of the sentence:

I grab her hand and open the curled fingers. I place it in her palm. Luckily, it is practically nothing. A swizzle stick. Granted, a very old cool swizzle stick, a wooden one advertising "City ice Cubes" with a little character on it with an ice-block head. But it is still a swizzle stick nonetheless. And nothing for her to get all huffy about. Theresa looks at me and smiles, the one she was smiling before she forgot that she wasn't supposed to be smiling at me. "Thanks, J. You know, you really don't have to keep coming here every day. I think they are going to be letting me out next week."

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    Yes, it is in fact correct. – tchrist Jul 31 '15 at 20:21
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It's correct, but it is a less direct, less assured way of putting it.

In the context you've shown, it tells me the character saying it might be dispirited a bit, or unsure, or wants to somehow downplay it.

If the character just said, "They are going to let me out next week", it implies much more certainty in that outcome. The character is not afraid of delcaring that. But "I think they are going to be letting me out next week" is not as assertive, and is probably a word choice to portray that aspect of the character's speech.

  • Additionally, the "letting me out" version implies more forethought and intent on the party doing the "letting out", vs it just happening mechanically or on the spur of the moment. – Hot Licks Jan 30 '16 at 12:46
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Very thoughtful question.

They are going to let me out next week sounds definite. It has been decided and it will certainly happen.

They are going to be letting me out next week. There will come a time next week when they at last decide to let me out (but it is implied that they still have control and that the decision is not completely made or certain yet.

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