Future tenses from My Grammar LabIntermediate B1-B2 María de la Calle Gil EFL Teacher
Talking about the futureThere are different tenses and structures to talk about future events, actionsand states:- am/is/are going to + infinitive.- Present continuous with future meaning- Will + infinitive- Future continuous ( will + be + -ing)- Future perfect simple (will + have + past participle)- Future perfect continuous ( will + have + been+ -ing)- Present simple with future meaning- am/is/are + to infinitive- am/is/are + about + to infinitive- Verbs and expressions with future meaning ( be due to, be sure/certain to, belikely to , expect, hope, want).- was /were going to + infinitive (the future in the past)
am/is/are going to + infinitive & present continuousWe use am/is/are going to + infinitive and present continuous to talk aboutfuture plans, but they are sometimes used differently: going to present continuous We want to do something but we havent We have already make arrangements to do made all the arrangements yet: something: Were having dinner on Tuesday. Im going to be a journalist one day. Immediate future: To explain why we cant do something in the future: Im going to go for a swim.Would you like to come? I cant go with you.Im working on Predictions See will and going to Tuesday.We dont use will for personal arrangements : Were watching the match today.However, in formal English we usually use will for arrangements: Obama andMerkel will meet tomorrow.
Will + infinitive-We use will when we want to express that we are more or less sure somethingwill happen:I think they will pass the exam.Ill probably / definitely / certainly have another chance.-We use will when we make immediate decisions , something we didnt plan todo:Ill have a coke and a sandwich, please.-We use will for offers , promises and warnings:Those books look heavy! Ill help you.I will never do that again.I will not allow bad behaviour in my house.We can use shall instead of will after I and we in most situations.(more formal).We use shall ( but not will) for suggestions: Shall I open the window?
To be going to & will for predictionsto be going to willPredictions based on an evidence , or Predictions based on our personalthat everybody knows: opinion or knowledge:Look at those clouds! Its going to I think they will be able to finish it.rain. I believe people will be happierShe doesnt study much. Shes going next year.to fail.
Future continuous (will + be+ -ing)We use the future continuous to talk about an action that will be in progress ator around a time in the future:By this time next month Ill be living in my new flat!We also use this tense to talk a future actions which may have a result:Ill be meeting my friends after work so I may be home late.or may make another action possible or necessary:Ill be seeing Dave tomorrow . Do you want me to tell him about the party?We use the future continuous to ask polite questions about personal plans andarrangements . It is less direct than the present continuous or to be going to:Excuse me . Will we be stopping for a break during the journey?Are you coming to the party? (direct question, informal)Will you be coming to the party? ( less direct , formal)We can also use it to say we cant do something in a formal situation:Mr. Jenkins is busy so Im afraid he wont be meeting us.
Future perfect simple & continuousFuture perfect simple ( will + have + past participle)We use it for actions which we expect to be completed by a particular time inthe future:Well have finished the MBA this time next year.Theyll have arrived by this evening.Future perfect continuous ( will + have + been + -ing)We use it to...talk about an action in progress up to a particular time in the future:By next Friday Ill have been waiting for my exam results for over two months!explain the reason for a future situation:Well have been studying all day so well be tired.Compare :By ten oclock Ill have finished my homework (completed action)By ten oclock Ill have been working on my essay for four hours (how long)
Present simpleWe often use the present simple with a time or date to talk about future eventson a timetable or fixed programme:The London flight arrives at 9.45.Our meeting is at 11.00 on Thursday.We can use will in the same way:When do/will your classes finish?The last one is/will be on December 5th.We use the present simple(or present perfect) to talk about future events afterwhen,as soon as, before, after, once and until:As soon as I get there, Ill phone you.Ill email you once she arrives.We also use the present simple or will to talk about definite arrangements andthings we cant change: New Years Day falls/will fall on a Thursday this year.
am/is/are (about) to + infinitive We use am/is/are to + infinitive in formal situations to talk about future events: Barack Obama is to talk to the nation tomorrow. The bridge is to be opened by the mayor on July 20th. We often use this form in news , reports and in instructions and orders: The police are to start house-to-house enquiries this week. These pills are to be taken three times a day. You are to report for duty at 9.00 am. am/is/are about to + infinitive is used to talk about an action in the immediate future: Hurry up! The trains about to leave.
Other ways to talk about the futurebe due to The new student is due to arrive next week.be sure/certain to Im certain to win the race.be likely to I dont think youre likely to speak to her.expect We expect to publish the new book next year.hope I hope to do it well.want She wants to be a volunteer.was /were going to + infinitive (The future in the past)We use this structure to talk about something that was expected or planned forthe future but it didnt happen:I was going to finish my essay but I didnt have time.
BibliographyFoley, Mark & Hall, Diane (2012). My Grammar LabIntermediate B1/B2. Pearson Education Limited.