Future Tense Overview

Future Tense - Lesson #1

When we are talking about tomorrow, next year, next week, next month, in 3 months, then we will use the future tense. We can use it to talk about anything in the future.

The future tense is a little different than the present and past tenses.

There are a few ways to talk about the future. In this lesson, we will briefly go over the most important ones and in the following lessons, we will go over each one in more detail.

1. The most common way to talk about the future is to use the modal "will". Here is how to make a sentence with the word "will".

Subject + will + verb…

The verb does not change. So, many English learners love the future tense because it is easier than the past or present tense.
  • I will go to the party tomorrow.
  • She will not eat dinner with us.
  • You will fail your test if you do not study.
  • They will like it.
  • Ben will visit Eastern Europe with his family next summer.
Some examples of questions would be:
  • Will you go to the meeting later?
  • Will he like this?
  • What will you do tomorrow?
  • Where will you go on vacation?
2. We can also use adjectives, nouns, or prepositional phrases with "will". We just need to use this pattern.

Subject + will be + noun/adjective…
  • We will be late if we do not hurry.
  • She will be angry when she sees this mess.
  • The teacher will be happy when she sees the clean classroom.
  • You will be a great person in the future.
  • Ben will be a manager next year.
  • He will be at the coffee shop later.
  • She will be in the library this afternoon.
Some examples of questions would be:
  • Will she be happy with the results?
  • Who will be the manager?
  • What will be interesting to see at the museum?
  • Who will be at the party?
3. Make negative sentences by using "will not".
  • I will not go to the party.
  • She will not be happy if she has to work overtime tonight.
  • They will not be students next year.
Or we can use the contraction "won't".
  • I won't go to the party.
  • She won't be happy if you do that.
  • They won't be students next year. They will graduate this year.
4. We can also use the present continuous form to talk about the future. The present continuous can be used to talk about right now or about the future.
  • I am studying now. (Current action)
  • I am studying with Ben tomorrow. (Future action)
Subject + be verb (not) + present participle…
  • I am meeting Sally next Friday.
  • She is getting married next year.
  • We are not watching a movie tonight.
  • He says that he is moving to New York in 5 years.
  • He isn't leaving the company later this year.
It is most natural and common to use the present continuous for the future when talking about plans or arrangements. In other words, things that people have decided to do.

So, this sentence is not natural.
  • It is raining tonight. (There is no person to arrange or plan this.)
Some examples of questions would be:
  • Are you meeting your friend tonight?
  • Is she coming to the concert on Friday?
  • What are you doing this weekend?
  • Where is he going tonight?
5. We can also use the pattern "going to + verb" to talk about the future. "Going to + verb" always refers to the future and we can use it for any sentence. It looks very similar to the present continuous.

Basically, anytime we can use "will" we can also use "going to + verb".

Subject + be verb (not) + going + infinitive…
  • I'm going to call my mother tomorrow.
  • We are going to drink coffee in one hour.
  • He is going to move to London next month.
  • They're going to discuss the matter and let us know their decision next week.
  • We are going to watch a movie after work.
  • She is not going to come to the party.
  • He isn't going to get promoted this year.
Some examples of questions would be:
  • Are you going to visit your family this vacation?
  • Is he going to come to the game?
  • What are you going to do this weekend?
  • Why are they going to move to a new city?
6. We can also talk about the future sometimes using the present tense. When we talk about schedules or programs for public transportation, movies, etc., then it is okay. Look at a few examples.
  • The plane leaves in 3 hours.
  • The plane takes off tomorrow at 4 pm.
  • The movie starts at 9.
Some examples of questions would be:
  • What time does the movie start?
  • When does your flight leave?
  • When does finish?
7. We can use certain verbs in the present tense that can refer to the future. These are - plan, expect, intend, hope.
  • I expect to finish my work by Friday.
  • I intend to get a new job next year.
  • She hopes to move to a new house in 2 years.
  • We plan to get married next summer.
Some examples of questions would be:
  • When do you expect to find out the results of the health checkup?
  • What company do you hope to work for?
  • Do you plan to visit your brother on your trip next week?
  • Why do you intend to quit your job?
There are many ways to talk about the future in English. Practice with all of these and you will be a natural English speaker in no time.

Everything in this free English lesson is important to know if you want to speak English well. We will cover all of these topics thoroughly in the following lessons.