Expressing the Simple Future Tense in English is particularly various because there are many ways to talk about future. The main auxiliary verb of Future Tense is will. However, we can use Present Simple or Present Continuous to talk about Future.
How to make the Simple Future Tense?
The structure of the Tense is:
Positive: Subject + will/shall + Verb.
Negative: Subject + will/shall not + Verb.
Question: Will/Shall + Subject + Verb
- You will help him later.
- You will not help him later.
- Will you help him later?
When we use the simple future tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and auxiliary verb:
[column-group][column]I will = I’ll
You will = You’ll[/column][column]He will = He’ll
She will = She’ll[/column][column]They will = They’ll
We will = We’ll[/column][column]It will = It’ll[/column][/column-group]
For negative sentences in the simple future tense, we contract with won’t, like this:
[column-group][column]I will not = I won’t
You will not = You won’t[/column][column]He will not = He won’t
She will not = She won’t[/column][column]They will not = They won’t
We wil notl = We won’t[/column][column]It will not = It won’t[/column][/column-group]
How to use Simple Future?
1. Use “will” with no plan
We use the simple future tense when there is no plan or decision to do something before we speak. We make the decision spontaneously at the time of speaking. Look at these examples:
- Hold on. I‘ll get a pen.
- We will see what we can do to help you.
- Maybe we‘ll stay in and watch television tonight.
In these examples, we had no firm plan before speaking. The decision is made at the time of speaking.
We often use the simple future tense with the verb to think before it:
- I think I‘ll go to the gym tomorrow.
- I think I will have a holiday next year.
- I don’t think I‘ll buy that car.
2. Use “will” for prediction
We often use the simple future tense to make a prediction about the future. Again, there is no firm plan. We are saying what we think will happen. Here are some examples:
- It will rain tomorrow.
- People won’t go to Jupiter before the 22nd century.
- Who do you think will get the job?
3. Verb “to Be”
When the main verb is be, we can use the simple future tense even if we have a firm plan or decision before speaking. Examples:
- I‘ll be in London tomorrow.
- I’m going shopping. I won’t be very long.
- Will you be at work tomorrow?
Note that when we have a plan or intention to do something in the future, we usually use other tenses or expressions, such as the present continuous tense or going to.
4. “Be going to” to Express a Plan in future
“Be going to” expresses that something is a plan. It expresses the idea that a person intends to do something in the future. It does not matter whether the plan is realistic or not.
- He is going to spend his vacation in Hawaii.
- She is not going to spend her vacation in Hawaii.
- A: When are we going to meet each other tonight?
B: We are going to meet at 6 PM.
- I‘m going to be an actor when I grow up.
- Michelle is going to begin medical school next year.
- They are going to drive all the way to Alaska.
- Who are you going to invite to the party?
- A: Who is going to make John’s birthday cake?
B: Sue is going to make John’s birthday cake.
5. “Will” or “Be Going to” to Express a Prediction
Both “will” and “be going to” can express the idea of a general prediction about the future. Predictions are guesses about what might happen in the future. In “prediction” sentences, the subject usually has little control over the future and therefore do not apply. In the following examples, there is no difference in meaning.
- The year 2222 will be a very interesting year.
- The year 2222 is going to be a very interesting year.
- John Smith will be the next President.
- John Smith is going to be the next President.
- The movie “Zenith” will win several Academy Awards.
- The movie “Zenith” is going to win several Academy Awards.
In the Simple Future, it is not always clear which USE the speaker has in mind. Often, there is more than one way to interpret a sentence’s meaning.
Like all future forms, the Simple Future cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Simple Future, Simple Present is used.
- When you will arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Not Correct
- When you arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Correct
The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.
- You will never help him.
- Will you ever help him?
- You are never going to meet Jane.
- Are you ever going to meet Jane?