In this chapter from our grammar course, we are going to learn how to talk about the future. We are going to learn about the future simple using will and be going to, the present progressive and simple for the future, the future progressive, and the future perfect simple and progressive.
Forms of Will and Be Going to
Will does not take a final s and is followed immediately by the simple form of a verb.
The weather will turn cold.
wills turn cold.
The weather will
The weather will
to turn cold.
will + not = won’t
will = ‘ll (it’s OK to use the contracted form with pronouns in both speaking and writing, but with nouns, we don’t usually use contracted forms in writing.
That will be difficult.
That’ll be difficult. (We can use that in speaking or informal writing only)
In informal speech, be going to is often pronounced “gonna.”
I’m going to leave soon.
I’m gonna leave soon. (informal)
Will vs. Be Going To
While we can use both will and be going to for predictions, be going to is used when we make certain predictions and will is used more for general predictions.
One day, we will find life on other planets.
Team A is going to win the game; there’s only 2 minutes left and they’re 20 points behind.
Be going to is commonly used in speaking to express a prior plan (a plan made before the moment of speaking)
I’m going to paint my bedroom tomorrow.
Will (not be going to) is used to express willingness or offer to help. In this case, will expresses a decision the speaker makes at the moment of speaking.
The phone’s ringing. — I’ll get it.
Will not/won’t can express refusal, with a person or with an inanimate object, when the meaning is not exactly future.
She won’t tell me how much she earns?
The car won’t start.
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Expressing the Future in Time Clauses
When the meaning of the time clause is future, the simple present tense is used with the time clause; Will or be going to can be used in the main clause, but not with the time clause.
When Bob comes, we will see him.
I will get home at 5:30. After I get home, I will eat dinner.
A time clause begins with such words as when, before, after, as soon as, until and while and includes a subject and a verb. The time clause can come either at the beginning of the sentence or in the second part of the sentence. Not that a comma is used when the time clause comes first in a sentence.
As soon as the taxi arrives, we’ll be able to leave for the airport. OR
We will be able to leave for the airport as soon as the taxi arrives.
Sometimes the present progressive is used in a time clause to express an activity that will be in progress in the future.
While I am traveling in Europe next year, I’m going to save money by staying in cheap hotels.
Occasionally, the present perfect is used in a time clause. The present perfect in the time clause emphasizes the completion of one act before a second act occurs in the future.
I will go to bed after I finish my work. OR
I will go to bed after I have finished my work.
Using the Present Progressive and the Simple Present to Express Future Time
The present progressive may be used to express future time when the idea of the sentences concerns a planned event or definite intention. A future meaning for the present progressive tense is indicated either by future time words in the sentence or by the context.
Sam has already made his plans. He’s leaving at noon tomorrow.
My wife has an appointment with a doctor. She is seeing Dr. North next Tuesday.
The simple present can also be used to express future time in a sentence concerning events that are on a definite schedule or timetable. These sentences usually contain future time words. Only a few verbs are used in this way: e.g. open, close, begin, end, start, finish, arrive, leave, come, return…
The museum opens at 10:00 tomorrow morning.
Classes begin next week.
John’s plane arrives at 6:05 P.M. next Monday.
The future progressive expresses an activity that will be in progress at a time in the future.
I will begin to study at seven. You will come at eight. I will be studying when you come.
Will + the progressive can be used with an activity that is not in progress at a time in the future. It is common in spoken English when the speaker wants to sound more polite or softer.
I’ll be picking Susie up early for a dentist appointment.
We’ll be contacting you shortly about your inquiry.
Future Perfect and Future Perfect Progressive
The future perfect expresses an activity that will be completed before another time or event in the future.
I will graduate in June. I will see you in July. By the time I see you, I will have graduated.
The future perfect progressive emphasizes the duration of an activity that will be in progress before another time or event in the future.
I will go to bed at 10:00 P.M. Ed will get home at midnight. I will have been sleeping for two hours by the time Ed gets home.