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Old 03-02-2017, 01:21 AM   #1
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Default An English Question!

As in a question about the English language; e.g. grammar, syntax, chicken, etc., not a question constructed with English words. If that makes sense

I noticed in the cars forum I haunt that people say things like "engine will not start" or "ignition will not whatever".

Is that syntactically/logically correct to say? Doesn't "will not" mean that it will never or dooming it to have no hope of possibly ever happening?

Sounds to me that saying so means that they intentionally did something to it to keep it from happening, or decided for it to not happen. When I say "I will not come" means that it's not gonna happen and I won't try to make it happen.

Shouldn't they say something like "the engine refuses to start" or "wouldn't start"? Now that I said that last one, could it be that by chance they're confusing "wouldn't" with "won't" at some point making them using the unabbreviated (if that's a word) form of "won't", which is "will not" accordingly?

Am I even making any sense here?
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Old 03-02-2017, 02:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: An English Question!

There is many different ways you can say/phrase it and there is no right or wrong way as to how you put it. I could say that my car will not start but it could be a simple problem and fix and go again in no time.
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: An English Question!

So it ca be said then!

As a EFL practitioner, it sounds weird to me really as if it breaks the law of time
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Old 03-02-2017, 06:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: An English Question!

I'm a native speaker but I won't claim to be an "expert" as to how it should be spoken, however:
"wouldn't" is a past-tense term, so if I said "my engine wouldn't turn on," that does not tell the recipient of your message whether the engine will start NOW. As you could say "my engine wouldn't start, but it is starting now"

"won't" (abbreviation of "will not") is primarily looking to the future, but we often use it for present-tense. For example, if I say "my engine won't start," I'm effectively saying that at the moment, my engine isn't starting.

I guess the 100% correct way of saying it would be using "isn't starting", as the person typing the sentence isn't making any assumptions as to the future state of the engine. So I could say "The engine isn't starting," as a statement of fact.


In your example of coming... it would be like saying:
"I will not (won't) come" - without a descriptor, the person could mean short term (ie, the upcoming visit), or the long term (ie, will not come ever again)

"I am not coming" - statement of fact, can be assumed the person refers to one event (short term) - this is the equivalent for a first person form of "is not", you would not say "I is not coming", and you would not say "the engine am not starting"

"I wouldn't come" - actually means something slightly different, this is almost a "possibility" based on a condition. For example "I wouldn't come if James went."


The English language is very weird unfortunately...
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Old 03-02-2017, 06:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: An English Question!

It boils down to regional preference, basically. That's part of the charm/headache of the English language. BK is dead on about no real right or wrong way to say it. I may say my car is dead but it could be a run down battery or out of gas; "dead" is being used as a general term for not working at the moment.

You would go nuts with the way English gets butchered around where I live. "I ain't got no" is commonly heard, as well as "fixing to", "yonder", "for a spell" and other idioms.
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Old 03-02-2017, 01:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: An English Question!

Err...

What about correct academic English? What should one say? I lean more toward "doesn't want to". Even "isn't" if taken within its tense, it would be that at the exact same time while trying, it is not working. I believe most, if not all, who inquire, do it away from the scenario of the act/test/trial/experiment.

Eh?

Oh yeah, EFL practitioners like myself seem to care more for academic English than ESL'ers.
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: An English Question!

Think of it this way.

Will / Is / Are (and many other words) represent a present tense, or current status without intervention to modify the future state. Therefore, if my car's spark plugs are all disconnected, my car "Will not start" regardless of how many times I attempt to turn the key.

Now I go plug in all the spark plugs. Therefore the state of the car has been modified. It now "may/might" start because I do not know if that was the only problem.

So I turn the key and it starts. Now my car (under it's current state of being) "will" start.

As with any language, context is important not only within the sentence, but also the situation.

[I believe] My car will start [until something else happens that changes the current state of operation].

"My car will not start" is a completely accurate sentence.
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Old 03-02-2017, 11:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: An English Question!

Right. "Will not start" is correct usage as it show the present state.

"My car will not start no matter how many times I turned the key!"

"I turned the key but my car won't start!"
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: An English Question!

Either will not or does not are correct uses.
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Old 03-03-2017, 03:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: An English Question!

I see...

I do read their posts and they use "will not" under conditions the car should normally start but fails because there is a problem they want to find. In Arabic this is never used unless there is a known modification preventing the car from starting. Like if I remove the battery and my brother threatens me to take the care to wash it for me and I tell him "ha, it will not/won't start".

But I think it's become a trend that in English if something that suppose to work but doesn't work no matter what, one says it will not start. That's something non native speakers could ponder upon. If you ask me, I think now I understand saying "won't start" if the complaint is made while or right after trying to have it start and failing to get it to start after so many tries. That's the impression I get when I read that on my monitor and that's why it hit me, I guess, because it feel weird that someone is posting the statement while trying to start the car or immediately right after it refuses to.

But it's clear for me now. Thanks!
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