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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2008, Vol. 39, No. 2, Pages 261-274
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2008.39.2.261)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Plan's the Thing: Deconstructing Futurate Meanings
Article PDF (145.48 KB)
Abstract

A futurate is a sentence with no obvious means of future reference, which conveys that a future-oriented eventuality is planned or scheduled. I argue that the component of planning found in the meaning of futurates should be derived from the more familiar modal concepts of abilities and desires. A futurate statement presupposes that some contextually salient entity d, the director, has the ability to bring it about that p, and asserts that d is committed to bringing it about that p.