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Mastering the Future Tense: A Guide to Clear Communication

Week 7 is finally here! You did it! This week we'll be focusing on the future tense. It should be a nice relief after two weeks of the present perfect! The future has its own little difficulties, but nothing to intense! And the best part? You can use it to talk about your upcoming holidays! If you've missed any of the other weeks in this series, check them out here:


 

Usage and Significance


The future tense is used to talk about rainbows and unicorns. As well as the future. If you didn't laugh, you need a holiday😝! In English, we use the future tense quite a lot, and so of course we have two simple future forms that both have their own specific uses. Below are two charts to show you when to use both forms, "will" and "going to".

When to use "will"

Future facts

The Sun will rise tomorrow (whether or not you see it rise).

Predictions NOT based on current evidence (50-50% chance of happening)

I think that in 2050 people will ride hoverboards instead of skateboards.

Promises

I promise I will keep your secret!

​Spontaneous decisions (not pre-meditated)

I'm thirsty. I'll buy something to drink.

Requests

Will you help me with my English homework?

Refusals

I will help you, but I will not do it for you!


When to use "going to"

​Future, organized plans

I'm going to go to Madrid [next week]!


"Going to" is interchangeable with the present continuous, the only difference is that with the present continuous, you must tell me when in the future, whereas with "going to", I know it's a future event.


I'm going to Madrid next week!

Predictions based on current evidence (75+% chance of happening)

Look at those clouds! It's going to rain!


 

Formation and Structure


Unlike most tenses in English, forming the future tense doesn't require too many neurons as long as you follow some basic rules:

Affirmative forms


Subject + will + verb in the infinitive form

I will call you after work.

Subject + to be + going to + verb in the infinitive form

I'm going to call you this weekend.

​Negative forms


Subject + will not (won't) + infinitive

I won't be able to come to your party.


Subject + to be + not + infinitive

He isn't going to come to the party.

Interrogative forms


Will + subject + infinitive

Will you go on holiday next year?


To be + subject + going to + infinitive

Are you going to go on holiday in August?


 

Common mistakes to avoid


  1. Overusing "will": "will" is used in very specific situations, so try to remember them and don't use will to talk about absolutely everything that will happen in the future.

  2. Using "going to" for all predictions: Remember, use it only when you have some kind of logical evidence that whatever you are predicting is going to happen.

  3. Conjugating verbs: remember, in the future you don't need to conjugate anything!

  4. Adding extra (unnecessary) verbs: sometimes people get confused and say things like, "I will can go to your party", or "She will does come to the party". Both of these are incorrect because they include helping verbs that do not have a place in the future. Helping verbs, go back to where you came from, please!

 

Not so bad, right? It's not easy, as nothing in a new language is easy, and the fact that much of what you say in the future depends entirely on context makes even the future a tricky tense to master, but at least grammatically there isn't much to worry about! Here's one last grammar guide for you to download, and stay tuned for next week's final post of the 2022-2023 school year! Yes, even I'm going on holiday this year, yippee!



 

Glossary

  • upcoming: typically used to indicate that something is approaching or on the horizon but has not happened yet. It implies that the event or item is expected or scheduled to take place soon.

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