Can this clause be used with both present and future reference?

I don’t mind what you do. (1)
Let me know who wins. (2)

Cambridge Grammar of the English Language

CGEL says the two examples’ subordinate clauses are written as ‘deictic futures’. There would be no ambiguity in (2), but there seems to be one between present and future time in (1). Can (1)’s subordinate clause be used only as a deictic future, or can it be used as a deictic present in some contexts?


I think characterizing (1) as a deictic future is dubious. It may be deictic future in the right context:

I know you haven’t decided yet, but I wanted to tell that I don’t mind what you do.

But in another context it may be a ‘generic’ present, signifying the addressee’s habitual practice:

Usually I don’t mind what you do, but in this case I think you’re behaving badly.

For a deictic present, however (if I’m understanding the CGEL use of this term—I take it to mean a construction which indicates specifically present action), I think you have to use the progressive construction:

Go right ahead. I don’t mind what you’re doing at all.

Context is everything. (2), for instance, is unambiguous only because the imperative let me know necessarily points to a future action. In another context, who wins may have generic force. For instance, Grantland Rice’s famous verse “For when the One Great Scorer comes/ To mark against your name,/ He writes – not that you won or lost -/ But how you played the Game” may be paraphrased

What matters in any contest is not who wins but how the game is played.

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : StoneyB on hiatus

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