Future Forms

Future Forms Grammar Guide

Form

English  does not have a future tense. We use a variety of existing structures  to talk about the future. A useful way to think about future forms in  English is to consider when the decision is made rather than think about  the action.

There are three fundamental future structures in English


i) Will + INF


ii) Going to + INF (Present continuous of go)


iii) Present continuous


These structures are  explored on the links provided above but please note that in both Will and going to the action is presented in the infinitive. For the present continuous it is to be plus gerund. In no case is there a new form of  the verb or tense to learn. This means we can concentrate on function.


Function

We can recognise the difference between the  three structures as a way of understanding the decision for the action.  Sometimes textbooks will talk about concrete and less concrete actions  but this really applies to the decision.


Future Actions

We use Will + INF to:

  • announce a decision or talk about immediate decisions we make in the moment of speaking


If the cinema is closed what will you do?

I will have a party on Saturday instead!



We use be going to + INF to:

  • talk about an intention, a decision we have already made

Well the box office tell me the cinema is closed

That's ok, I'm going to have a party on Saturday


We use Present Cont. (with reference to time) to:

  • talk about a plan. An  intention that has involved preparation. Not only have you made the  decision but you have performed actions to prepare.


I'm having a party on Saturday, I have booked the room, bought the drinks and paid the DJ



Future Predictions

We use be going to + INF to:

  • make predictions based on current evidence.


If we look at the satellite picture we can be sure it is          going to rain tomorrow


Look at that big black cloud, it is going to rain



We use Will to:

  • make predictions based on experience or guesswork


I think we will win the lottery at the weekend



We DO NOT use Present Continuous to make predictions



I am failing my exam unless I do more work


Related Topics


Further information on Will/Shall here


Expressions to talk about the future here


The Present Simple in the future here


Further future structures here

Podcast - Dead Air

Get In Touch

© 2015-2020 Bulldogz