In this post we’re going to talk about the future. There are lots of different ways to talk about the future in English so let’s start with the simplest and perhaps most familiar forms first.
The most common way we use to talk about timetables is the present simple. Here are some simple examples.
In this case the form we use most often is the present continuous as in our example. The idea of using the present continuous here is that this is something the person has already arranged or discussed.
For this type of example we use the structure going to. It is similar to how we use the present continuous but the important difference here is that going to talks only about intentions. It is something that may or may not happen.
Another way we use going to is to predict the future by using information that we have now. You can see this clearly in our example sentence.
The modal verb will has a number of uses to talk about the future.
This is often the first form that people often learn about, where the speaker makes instant decisions. Here are a couple of examples.
We can use will to talk about many different situations. It is very common to use it to offer to do something for somebody or to promise to do something.
Like many other ways of talking about the future will predicts different ideas.
People sometimes use going to in these type of examples and the meaning is the same.
There are a number of other forms we use for the future which are more complex in how we construct them and how we use them.
The future continuous works in the same way as other continuous tenses, where we are talking about something happening at a particular time. In this case we are referring to a future time and it is usual to include some kind of a time reference. Here’s an example sentence and there is also an image below describing how we use the future continuous.
The future perfect refers to completed activities or completed time but at a specific time in the future. These forms are not used very often as they are complex and we often prefer to use a simpler way to describe ideas.
This simple form of the future perfect refers to a completed activity some future time. We use certain kinds of time expressions to talk about this, such as by the end. The diagram below shows how we think about it.
We use the future perfect continuous to talk about a completed period of time at a future date. We commonly use for and since for this type of grammar. This form is very uncommon and the diagram below shows how we look at it.
There are many ways to talk about the future in English and these are the most common grammar forms we use. A lot of time we just use the first more familiar structures but it’s also good to know about continuous and perfect forms especially for exam exercises.