Ed Tyrrell

Looking Forward

I’ll see him – I’m going to see him – I’m seeing him – I will have seen him…The future tenses in English can be daunting. There are 7 ‘official’ future tenses and “a whole host” (nice quantifying expression – it means ‘a lot of’) of other verbs and expressions that we use in a variety of different situations.

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I’ll see him – I’m going to see him – I’m seeing him – I will have seen him…The future tenses in English can be daunting. There are 7 ‘official’ future tenses and “a whole host” (nice quantifying expression – it means ‘a lot of’) of other verbs and expressions that we use in a variety of different situations.

However, you can “take heart” (get courage) from the fact that each of the official future tenses, with maybe one exception, are used in easily identifiable situations.
In this particular post, we are going to look at a number of very commonly used ‘future tenses’

Read the following telephone conversation between two friends who want to make plans for the weekend. Then answer the questions that follow!

John: Hello?

Mary: Hi John, it’s Mary. How are you?

John: Mary, hi! I’m fine thanks, just finishing up at work. The bus leaves at 7:30, so I usually stay in the office until 7. And you?

Mary: Oh, I’m already on my way home. I just wanted to ask you if you have any plans for the weekend? A bunch of us are driving up to the mountains early tomorrow morning, and we’ve had a last minute cancellation. I know you like the mountains so I said I’d ask you if you wanted to come instead.

John: I’d really like to come, but I’m not sure I can. My brother is going to sell his car soon and he’s asked me to have a look at it to make sure there are no major problems.

Mary: Aw, come on John, you know you’ll enjoy yourself more in the mountains. And it doesn’t sound like your brother has a ‘deadline’ for selling his car. Just tell him that you’re coming with us, that it was already planned and that it slipped your mind!

John: I can’t lie to him!

Mary: Sarah’s coming

John: I’ll be there bright and early!! What time are we leaving?

Mary: What are you going to tell your brother?

John: The truth of course! I’ll tell him that I’m going to the mountains with a bunch of friends; and Sarah!!!! He’s my brother, he’ll understand.

Mary: Great!! So I’ll pick you up at 7am tomorrow morning.

John: Should I bring anything in particular?

Mary: Nah, just pack some warm clothes, it’s going to be cold

John: Ok, thanks Mary, see you tomorrow morning

Mary: Sure thing, see you tomorrow bye.

John: Bye bye..

The verbs in bold are all used in this text to describe the future. What are they?

Match the numbers 1-4 with the letters a-d:

1) Are driving / Sarah’s coming / you’re coming / I’m going to the mountains
2) My brother is going to sell / what are you going to tell your brother?
3) You’ll enjoy yourself / I’ll be there / I’ll tell him / he’ll understand / I’ll pick you up
4) The bus leaves at 1930

a) To be going to +inf
b) Will +ing (Future simple)
c) Present simple as a future tense
d) Present continuous as a future tense

Which structure above, (a-d), is used to talk about:

1) ‘Calculated predictions’ and ‘Intentions’
2) ‘Public timetables’ (or a timetable for a public service)
3) ‘Spontaneous decisions’, ‘General predictions’ (your opinion), ‘Promises’
4) A programmed event/action – something you have decided, and planned, to do

Answers:

1) _____________________________

2) _____________________________

3) _____________________________

4) – d) Present Continuous as a future tense

Read the basic rules here: Simple future rules (you can download a save a copy!!)

And now, try some practice questions! Enjoy!
1. I have to pick up Ann at the airport. Do you know what time her flight ……………………………. .
A is arriving                   B arrives                                          C will arrive

2. My wife ……………………………. her job soon, but she hasn’t informed her boss about her plans yet.
A will quit                        B is quitting                                    C is going to quit

3. We ……………………………. a barbeque on Friday. Can you come?
A are having                   B have                                               C will have

4. What time ……………………………. start?
A does the news             B is the news going to                C will the news

5. I’m supporting my team, but I’m sure Germany ……………………………. the Championships.
A will win                           B are winning                                C wins

6. ‘What ……………………………. on Sunday?’ ‘Nothing special. Why?’
A will you do                    B do you do                                    C are you doing

7. ‘Would you like me to give you a lift to the station?’ ‘Don’t bother. I ……………………………. a taxi.’
A will take                          B am taking                                    C take

8. ‘Don’t throw that magazine away. I ……………………………. it.
A read                                 B am going to read                        C will read

9. ‘Look at the sky, it ……………………………. again.
A rains                                B will rain                                          C is going to rain

10. I can’t meet you at 10:00 am. I ……………………………. tennis with Harry in the morning.
A will play                         B am playing                                      C play