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.
- 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‘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.
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.
- 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.
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 —–> |
now ……. tomorrow at 9.15
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
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 …