Learning grammar in terms of English language can be quite a struggling process if you have no idea what to start with. Usually, when learning it from scratch with a teacher of English, you learn to use different tenses in past, present and future. These tenses and their formulas differ among one another and that is why the whole learning process requires good attentiveness and tons of motivation.
We will help you to get yourself prepared to the main nuances of expressing some actions that will happen only in the future. Those differ depending on the area you live in (Australia, the USA or Great Britain) as well as where they are used (written or oral communication).
There are only 6 forms of the future tense and all of them will be presented in this article to help you learn them effectively. “Only 6?” you say sarcastically. Well, in comparison to other languages and their ways of expressing future events, English tends to be more complex. However, let’s not forget that with the help of such a variety of possibilities we can clearly express our thought and ideas, making the language itself even brighter and more expressive!
Unfortunately, unlike in other tenses, there are no signal words that may tell us this is the future tense for sure. Only attentiveness and experience will help you to recognize them and form them easily.
This one is considered to be the most common form of the future tense as it represents speaker’s intentions like:
- Prediction. E.g. it will snow today, let’s stay inside;
- Assumption. E.g. If you wear this ugly jacket nobody will go near you;
- Spontaneous actions. E.g. Alice was thinking hard on it and suddenly said “I will join you there”.
It is called the “Future Simple Tense” due to its simplicity with will+ infinitive verb.
Affirmation: He will ask her for a date.
Negation: He will not (won’t) ask her for a date.
Question: Will he ask her for a date?
- planned action in the future. E.g. I am going to visit my aunt next morning;
- logical consequence (something that is going to happen). E.g. It is going to rain.
A proper formula will be to be (am, are, is) + going to + infinitive. The form is used in oral conversations to sound less formal than the will-form.
Affirmation: We are going to join you in the cinema tonight.
Negation: We are not (aren’t) going to join you in the cinema tonight.
Question: Are we going to join you in the cinema tonight?
Simple Present Expressing Futurefuture action that is fixed (e.g. timetable). E.g. Sorry, no time for that. Tomorrow morning I am at school.
Affirmation: She has an important meeting at 5.
Negation: She does not (doesn’t) have an important meeting at 5.
Question: Does she have an important meeting at 5?
Present Progressive (Continuous)planned action in the near future. E.g. We are visiting our grandma soon. Do you want to come with us?
to be (am, are, is) + infinitive + -ing
Affirmation: We are going to the theatre on Saturday evening.
Negation: We are not (aren’t) going to the theatre on Saturday evening.
Question: Are we going to the theatre on Saturday evening?
This form can be and is usually used when talking about time:
I am seeing you at 9 p.m. today. (instead of “I am going to see you at 9 p.m. today)
Future Progressive (Continuous)action will happen for sure (as it happens usually). E.g. I will be seeing Mr. Jones this weekend.
will + be + infinitive + -ing expresses fixed appointments and certain schedule points. The form is a great example of future progress. Why not to use Present Progressive instead? Because Future Progressive tends to sound polite and is foremost used in business sphere.
Affirmation: Tomorrow at this time she will be sitting in a plane.
Negation: Tomorrow at this time she will not (won’t) be sitting in a plane.
Question: Will she be sitting in a plane tomorrow at this time?
Future PerfectSomething that will already have happened before some definite time in the future.
The form of this tense is will + have + past participle which points out the necessity of a matter that an action is completed. This tense is rather hard for non-native speakers and is certainly connected to the timeline. We must understand that we are expressing an action that will be finished in the future at a certain time.
Affirmation: I will definitely have my term paper written by Sunday.
Negation: I will not (won’t) have my term paper written by Sunday.
Question: Will I have my term paper written by Sunday?
As you see, both present and future forms may help us grammatically to tell something of the future. At first, it may be quite hard to differentiate these, but we advise you to listen more to TV-shows, radio, talk with native speakers and it will surely come naturally, as well as it should be. Good luck!