Simple Future Tense

In grammar, a future tense (abbreviated FUT) is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future (in an absolute tense system), or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future (in a relative tense system) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_future_tense#English)

Simple future has two different forms in English; they are will and be going to. Though the two forms are sometimes interchangeable, they frequently express different meanings. Either will or be going to refers to a specific time in the future.


Time Signals

The time signals usually used in the simple future tense among others are in a year, next …, tomorrow…etc.

A. Will

The Patterns

Affirmative

Subject + will + Verb 1 (Verb base)

Negative

Subject + will + not +Verb 1 (Verb base)

Interrogative

Will + Subject + Verb 1 (Verb base)

The Uses

The will form is used to express:

1. Future Facts;

Will is used when we want to talk about future facts or things we believe to be true about the future.

Examples:

  • The head master will serve for four years.
  • I’m sure you’ll like it. It is the best product in its class.
  • I’m certain the professional secretary will do a good job.

Yet, if we are not so certain about the future, we use will with expressions such as probably, possibly, afraid, sure, believe, doubt, expect, suppose, I think, I hope, etc.

Examples:

  • I hope he’ll be back to me some day.
  • I’ll possibly come late tonight, there’s something to do first.
  • I think they’ll pick me up soon.
  • I expect he’ll keep his words.

2. Predictions;

Simple Future Tense with will is also used when making a prediction based on experience or intuition.

Examples:

  • He’s very lazy. He will not pass the test.
  • The girl is very fussy. Your mom won’t like her.
  • The subject is very hard. He’ll get difficulty.

3. A voluntary action;

Will usually implies that a speaker will do something voluntarily or willingly. A voluntary action is an action that the speaker offers to do for somebody else. Frequently, will is used to respond people’s complaint or a request for help. We also use will when we ask other people’s help or we request other people willingly do something for us. In the same way we use will not or won’t to refuse voluntarily to do something.

Examples:

  • I will help you with the math problem.
  • Will you take me some sugar, please?
  • I will not do all the assignment myself.
  • X: It’s very hot here.
  • Y: I’ll open the window.

4. A promise;

Will is often used in promise. It does not matter if the time between the promise and the action is very long or short.

Examples:

  • I will send you a message when I get home.
  • I promise I will not tell anybody the secret.
  • I will return the book next week.
  • I will see you tonight.

5. Unplanned Actions;

We can use this tense to talk about unplanned (spontaneous) decisions. The decision is made at the moment of speaking.

Examples:

If you are afraid here, I will accompany you.

X: Do you have any difficulties with your homework?
Y: Yes, I do.
X: I will help you then.
X: Someone is knocking at the door.
Y: I’ll see who it is.
X: The phone is ringing.
Y: I’ll answer it.

6. habits;

You can also use the Simple Future Tense to express habits.

Examples:

  • She will scream loudly if she sees a cockroach.
  • The boy will always eat some candies before going to school.
  • Mom will tell me a story before I sleep.

B. Be Going To

The Patterns

Affirmative

Subject+be (am, is, are) + going + to + Verb1 (Verb base)

Negative

Subject+be (am, is, are) + not + going + to + Verb1 (Verb base)

Interrogative

be (am, is, are) + subject + going + to + Verb1 (Verb base)

The Uses

Be Going To is used to express:

1. prediction;

Just like will, be going to also can be used to make a general prediction about the future. Although the two forms are sometimes interchangeable, there is usually a difference in their use. Be going to is usually used when we have objective knowledge for your prediction, whereas will is used when we only have subjective knowledge. The instance of objective knowledge is black cloud in the sky indicating rain. The subjective knowledge is what we believe or think.

Examples:

  • The sky is clear. It’s going to be another warm day.
  • The sky is cloudy. It’s going to rain soon.
  • The traffic is terrible. We’re going to be late.
  • That car is running too fast. It’s going to crash.

2. Plans;

Be Going to is used to refer to plan that the speaker has made; the speaker has already decided about what to do.

Examples:

  • I’m really exhausted. I’m going to go bed earlier tonight.
  • She’s going to conduct a party to celebrate her coming birthday.
  • I’m not going to see him tomorrow.

Note:

1. Time Clauses

Just like all future forms, the simple future tense is not used in clauses begin with time expressions like when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Then using simple present is proper choice.

Examples:

  • Before you will finish your homework, Mom will not allow you to watch TV. (incorrect)
  • Before you finish your homework, Mom will not allow you to watch TV. (correct)

2. Shall

You can also use shall to express the Simple Future. Shall is more formal than will, and usually appears in formal agreements and guarantees.

Examples:

  • We shall provide the best service for our customer.
  • This product shall be guaranteed.
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