Various Future Forms for English Learners

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There are a number of future forms in English, just as there are different forms for the past and present. Let's take a look at examples of the four different forms: Simple Future, Future Continuous, Future Perfect, and Future Perfect Continuous used to speak in English about the future.

Peter will be at work tomorrow. - Future Simple
She's going to travel to Hong Kong next month.- Future with Going to
Jennifer will have finished the report by ten tomorrow. - Future Perfect
Doug will be enjoying a good book at this time next week.- Future Continuous
I will have been working for six hours by the time I finish this. - Future Perfect Continuous

The following article takes a look at each of these forms, as well as some variations in future tense usage with clear examples to help explain the use of each.

Listed below are examples, uses, and formation of Future Forms.

Uses of the Future With 'Will'

The future with 'will' is used for a number of situations:

1. Used for Predictions

It will snow tomorrow.
She won't win the election.

2. Used for Scheduled Events

The concert will begin at 8 o'clock.
When will the train leave?

Used for scheduled events

3. Used for Promises

Will you marry me?
I'll help you with your homework after class

4. Used for Offers

I'll make you a sandwich.
They'll help you if you want.

5. Used in Combination with Time Clauses (as soon as, when, before, after)

He will telephone as soon as he arrives.
Will you visit me when you come next week?

Uses of the Future With Going To

1. Used for Plans 

The future with 'going to' is used to express planned events or intentions. These events or intentions are decided on before the moment of speaking.

Frank is going to study Medicine.
Where are they going to stay when they come?
She isn't going to buy the new house afterall.

Note: 'Going to' or '-ing' are often both correct for planed events. 'Going to' should be used for distant future intentions (example: He's going to study Law)

2. Used for Future Predictions Based on Physical Evidence.

Oh no! Look at those clouds. It's going to rain.
Be careful! You're going to drop those dishes!

Use of Future Continuous

Use the future continuous to speak about what will be happening at a specific time in the future.

She will be sleeping at 11:30.
Tom will be having a good time this time tomorrow.

Use of Future Perfect

Use the future perfect to speak about what will have been finished by a time in the future.

I will have finished the book by tomorrow.
Angela will have fond a new job by the end of the year.

Use of the Future Perfect Continuous

Use the future perfect continuous to speak about how long something will have been happening up to a point of time in the future.

They will have been studying for five hours by six o'clock.
Mary will have been playing golf for five hours by the time she finishes.

Uses of Present Continuous for the Future

It's also possible to use the present continuous for planned or personally scheduled events. Usually used with principle verbs such as: come, go, begin, start, finish, have, etc.

Note: 'Going to' or '-ing' are often both correct for planned events. 'Going to' should be used for distant future intentions (example: He's going to study Law)

He's coming tomorrow afternoon.
What are we having for dinner?
I'm not seeing the doctor until Friday.

Common future time expressions include: next (week, month, year), tomorrow, in X's time (amount of time, i.e. two week's time), in year, time clauses (when, as soon as, before, after) simple present (example: I will telephone as soon as I arrive) soon, later.

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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Various Future Forms for English Learners." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 28). Various Future Forms for English Learners. Retrieved from Beare, Kenneth. "Various Future Forms for English Learners." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).