Can't say I'm surprised by the overwhelming lack of response on the grammar question which currently has a bounty of 50 points. Only @Andrew posted an answer and was repaid by an anonymous downvote.

Why is the present simple tense used for an event that is in the future?

I get that it's not a "fun" question or one that really picks your brains, but it is clear, and above all, specific. The opportunity to write a good solid answer covering the four different constructions; Present Simple, Be + Going To + Verb; Present Continuous, and Pure Future, has been presented on a platter.

At least once a week, ELL receives questions asking about the usage or the difference between two or more future "tenses", yet many users with the talent and know-how, tend to avoid answering them. I think I can guess why, the instances where two or more constructions can be interchangeable are many, and explaining why one form is preferable to another inevitably leads (less confident) users in a rabbit hole that seems to come out in China.

The reason for offering a bounty was to obtain one or more "great" answers which would cover that particular usage. We would then direct newcomers asking very similar questions to that post, and/or close their questions as being duplicates.

In any case, I would like to ask the community, most humbly, why they shun bounties in general. They don't seem to be hugely successful, even ones that offer 200+ rep.

Before anyone asks, I have tried my hand at answering those type of questions but it's rare I cross the 1+ barrier, does the low vote mean the answer is meh? Do users feel I have omitted fundamental aspects (see: rabbit hole syndrome)? Anyway, I'm not the best man for this job, there are others who are better at being concise and accurate than I am.

So, whats up?

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    Short answers: I ignore bounties because I think the bounty system should be a fast track for encouraging new participants. And I ignore that question because my working hypothesis is that it's unanswerable, and testing that hypothesis would take pretty much all my free time for three to six months. Jan 15, 2017 at 18:36
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    From my perspective, I just don't have the expertise to answer certain questions. I'm pretty good with vocabulary and usage type questions, but if you want an explanation of the tougher aspects of grammar, I am trepidatious. Not only do I think those questions require a more formal understanding of the topic than I have, I also think they require some teaching experience to really explain well, and I don't have that either.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 16, 2017 at 13:19
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    Your premise is that the people who give answers here are motivated by fame and reputation, i.e., the bounty, but perhaps, this is just not the case. Perhaps some of us are really just motivated by seeing and reading good answers and learning stuff ourselves. Jan 17, 2017 at 10:58
  • My point being that to develop an answer yourself that garners a lot of upvotes might be more productive than simply offering a bounty for an answer that's good based on someone else's opinion. Jan 17, 2017 at 11:00
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    @TeacherKSHuang the point of offering a bounty is also to give a question greater attention, to make users aware that a half-decent question had only one answer, which luckily enough was quite decent, but lacked detail. The real motivation behind answering this type of question should be the desire to help future visitors. Why else would there be native speakers on a site for learners of English in the first place, if it's not to share their expertise with non-native speakers? The points is "extra" a bonus, and also a faster means of earning more privileges.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 17, 2017 at 12:21
  • Please see paragraphs three, four and especially six, which answers your point about: to develop an answer yourself that garners a lot of upvotes might be more productive than simply offering a bounty
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 17, 2017 at 12:26
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    Mari-Lou...you've answered your own question. The real motivation is to help future visitors, so bounties are not needed to draw greater attention, and perhaps, as you note, actually do not even work as they are ignored. Jan 18, 2017 at 9:01
  • I think what draws more attention much faster, though, is 1) Bad answers, and 2) Good answers. So if you were to want to draw more attention to a question, again, I'd recommend answering the question and letting fate do the rest. Jan 18, 2017 at 9:02
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    @TeacherKSHuang That will rarely ever work for a question that's two days old. Jan 18, 2017 at 14:15
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    Have you tried posting it to ELU ? I think it could fall in "historically why things happen they way they do in English" (see here). It's possible that historically, the future tense was used but it drifted to present tense for some reason, that's potentially ELU material. Jan 18, 2017 at 17:06
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    @TeleportingGoat the question is not mine, I'm sorry if I gave that impression. Very often ELL grammar type of questions attract one or two answers at the most, I prefer reading than writing answers and sometimes I feel a bit frustrated by the paucity of answers (not by their quality, but by their low numbers). Definitely, the site needs more answers and more referenced ones too.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 19, 2017 at 9:52
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    I realized another possibility: most people asking questions on this SE are just looking for some quick help, which may or may not always need such a long, detailed answer. I honestly do not think most Askers here need the long answer. They just need the short one, and so Answerers lose interest in posting long, bountiful answers that might be better appreciated on ELU. Jan 20, 2017 at 10:13
  • And this is a meta discussion for another time, but I feel like some questions are over-referred to this site and that they should migrate themselves back to ELU. Jan 20, 2017 at 10:14

1 Answer 1


As you have noted, I make my best attempt to answer the question thoroughly as I can with my limited scholarship. I will not attempt to answer if I think the person who placed the bounty really wants a scholarly answer, as there are others here who are much better qualified to handle that kind of thing.

Anyway, I don't think the downvote was anonymous. I assumed the person who downvoted was the same as who commented that "my premise was wrong".

  • You may be right about that comment, I remember reading it the first time and your response and waiting to see if anyone else would chip in. Yeah, completely forgot about that one.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 19, 2017 at 9:41
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    I really appreciated your answer, and you're a great asset to the community, so please keep up with the great contributions. This time I didn't award the full bounty to you because I wasn't fully convinced by your answer. Who knows, if other users had posted answers, maybe the clarity of your answer would have benefited.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 19, 2017 at 9:46
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    @Mari-LouA Thanks. I really like logical puzzles like that, but I have no illusions about scholarship and precision. I just want to get it in the ballpark.
    – Andrew
    Jan 19, 2017 at 18:53

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