Sometimes a dubious but popular IELTS source give a phrases for IELTS Writing, and suddenly it becomes popular – but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Usually it isn’t, because the phrase is simple given for memorization, and all words come with meaning which must be appropriate to the situation, and the ‘instant IELTS experts’ don’t, or can’t, think this deeply.

One phrase in vogue at the moment is ‘in the foreseeable future’. As popular as it is, I have never yet seen it used correctly. Maybe we should consider this phrase. Let’s look first at the dictionary definition.

Foreseeable future = at a future time that is not very distant, and that can be at least partly guessed from present conditions

The key concepts here are ‘not distant’, and ‘present conditions’. This leads to the first point: ‘foreseeable future’ is very ‘contextual’ – that is, it belongs to a specific situation and speaker. A doctor may write, ‘A cure for cancer is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future.’ This sounds fine. He is a doctor, and because of this, he can foresee a little ahead into the future (but not too much). A clearer definition of ‘foreseeable future’ is the future which I (very personally to me and my experience) can see, or predict, or know about (within some specific field or area of knowledge).

The second point (related to the first) about ‘foreseeable future’ is that it is most naturally used negatively, usually in the phrase, ‘not in the foreseeable future’, or ‘I don’t see how it could happen in the foreseeable future.’

 

Find the meaning of the underlined words, almost repeated below.

  • dubious (adj)
  • vogue (n)
  • foresee (v)

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