There are a number of ways to present the future tense in English, each with their own function and form. This post will present the different approaches and for every form, the function and practical examples will be given to help improve and consolidate the learner’s understanding of the future tense and its use.
1. will + infinitive
a) You can use will + infinitive for predictions.
I think Chelsea will win the Premier League this year.
I’m sure he‘ll be here on time. He’s never late.
b) You can also use will + infinitive to describe an intention based on a decision that has just been made.
Look! Those bags are too heavy. I‘ll help you.
It’s time for a break. I‘ll put the kettle on.
2. be going to + infinitive
a) be going to + infinitive is used to express a prediction based on current assessment.
Look at those dark clouds on the horizon. It‘s going to rain this afternoon.
You’ve been preparing well for your driving test, so you‘re going to pass.
b) be going to + infinitive can also be used to express an intention.
He’s going to ask his employer for a raise.
We’re going to paint the garden wall this afternoon.
3. Present simple tense
The present simple tense is used for timetabled and scheduled events.
The train for York departs from Platform 5 at 10:47.
The conferences begins on Thursday.
4. Present continuous tense: be + present participle
Use the present continuous tense to discuss future arrangements.
They are getting married next month, then they’re spending two weeks in Jamaica for their honeymoon.
We are having a meeting with the client tomorrow afternoon.
5. Future continuous: will be + present participle
Use the future continuous tense to describe an event or state that will be continuing at some point in the future.
This time next year they will be living in Australia.
When I move to Paris I’ll be staying with my cousin.
6. Future perfect: will have + past participle
Use the future perfect tense to express a future competed state or event.
This time next week I will have submitted my dissertation.
In two years I will have completed my PhD.
7. Future perfect continuous: will have been + present participle
Use the future perfect continuous tense to describe a future event or state that will be incomplete.
In two months we will have been living and studying here for two years.
By midnight he will have been studying for 12 hours.