grammar: futures


Now, let’s talk about future. It’s not I’m guessing the future. I mean about how to express future in the English language. As a matter of fact it’s the grammar subject of lesson 7 we started last week. Without delay let’s introduce the facts.

English does not have one future tense. There are many possible ways of expressing the future. Our choice of verb form depends on the aspect of the future time that we want to emphasize.

Schedules

We use the present simple to talk about shcedules and timetables.

  • We leave at midnight.
  • What time does the train arrive?

Future time clauses

We also use the present simple in future time clauses that begin with if/when/as soon as, etc.

  • If it snows, we’ll go to the mountains.
  • She’ll hire a car when she gets there.

Plans, arrangements and decisions

We use the present continuous to talk about definite arrangements (eg we have bought a ticket for something or written something in a diary)

  • We‘re meeting at six.

We use am/is/are going to + infinitive to talk about intentions (ie plans or decisions that have been made before the moment of speaking).

  • They‘re going to buy a new car.

The use of the present continuous and going to is very similar. You can always use going to instead of the present continuous, bout you only use the present continuous to talk about a definite arrangement.

We use ‘ll + infinitive to talk about a decision made at the time of talking (ie there has been no decision, plan or arrangement made earlier).

  • OK. I‘ll give you a call next week.

Predictions

We use both going to + infinitive and will + infinitive to make predictions about the future. Sometimes both forms are possible.

  • They‘re going to win.
  • I don’t think they‘ll win.

When there is present evidence for the prediction we usually use going to.

  • Look at the clouds. It’s going to rain.

We often use will after phrases like I (don’t) think/I expect/I’m (not) sure/I reckon/I guess.

  • I expect you‘ll understand.

We often use will with an adverb of probability: definitely/maybe/perhaps/possibly/probably.

  • They definitely won’t win.

We can use may and might in place of will to make our prediction less certain.

  • It might be sunny later on.

NOTE:more about may and might.

Future continuous

We use future continuous to talk about an action that will be in progress at a point in the future.

  • At 9.15 tomorrow, we‘ll be watching the match.

……………|——- watching the match —–> |
—–X——-X—————————–>
now ……. tomorrow at 9.15

Future perfect

We use the future perfect to talk about an action that will be completed before a point in time in the future.

  • By 10.00 tomorrow, the match will have finished.

………………………………………….. the match will finish
———-X———————X——————————->
now ……………………… 10.00 tomorrow

We often use the future perfect with expressions with by.

By then/tomorrow/two o’clock (this time) next Monday/week the time we arrive/we’ve finished …

Un comentario en “grammar: futures

  1. Today in class we’ve done some grammar exercises on Futures. The first exercise from lesson 7C, p. 71 is about future perfect and future continuous. The following grammar excerpt helps a lot to do the exercise:

    * Use will + be + verb + -ing to form the future continuous.

    We‘ll be exploring the options together.

    * Use the future continuous to talk about an action that will be in progress at a point in time in the future.

    We’ll be talking about the next step in our next session.

    * Use will + have + past participle to form the future perfect

    I‘ll have achieved all the goals I’ve set myself.

    * Use the future perfect to talk about an action that will be completed before a point in time in the future.

    I’ll have given up smoking by the end of the year.

    NOTE: Expressions often used with the future perfect: By this time (next week), by then, by one o’clock, by the time (we next meet)

    3 Complete the sentences to make predictions for you.

    1 This time tomorrow, I’ll ____be watching a film in the cinema____.

    2 By this time next week, I’ll have ____finished all my homework____.

    3 This time next year, I’ll be ____looking for a new job____.

    4 By this time next year, I’ll have ____got rid of all the useless and old things I keep in the basement_____.

    5 Five years from now, I’ll ____have forgot all my English_____.

    6 In ten years’ time, I’ll ____be running my own company_____.

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