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Future Time

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There are several ways of looking at the future with English. Here is an overview of the different tenses we use depending on the situation we are talking about.

When we know about the future we normally use the present tense:
We use the present simple for something scheduled or an arranged meeting and for an event that has a fixed time:
The film starts at nine fifteen.
We have a holiday next week.
It’s Sarah’s birthday tomorrow.

We can use the present continuous for plans or arrangements:
I’m playing squash with John tomorrow.
My sister is coming to visit us from London next week.
We’re celebrating my dad’s seventieth on Saturday.

We use will to talk about the future:
When we make predictions:
It will be hot in September.
I think Peter will do well in his exam.
I’m sure you will have a great time in Rio.

When we mean ‘want’ or ‘be willing to’:
I hope you will come to my party.
Sarah said she will help us.

When we talk about offers and promises:
I’ll see you tomorrow.
He said he’ll send us an e-mail.

We use 'be going to':
When we talk about plans and intentions:
I’m going to cycle to work today.
They’re going to restructure the company.

When we see that something is likely:
You are not going to feel very well tomorrow after all these beers.
Be careful! That chair looks like it’s going to break.

There are certain verbs that we can use to talk about the future like plan, want, hope, expect, intend, need etc. together with would like.
I’d like to go to university in America.
We plan to spend Christmas with the family.
John wants to move to another flat.

We can use the future continuous instead of the present continuous to add emphasis when we are talking about plans, arrangements and intentions.
They’ll be coming to see us next week.
I will be cycling to work from now on.
They’ll be arriving at around eleven o’clock.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Now choose the best form to express the following:

  • 1. Our flight _ at eight o’clock.

  • 2. I _ Sarah this afternoon. We need to discuss our plans for the summer.

  • 3. Everyone you invited _ to the dinner.

  • 4. The film _ at nine, so I’ll pick you up at half eight.

  • 5. It looks like the presentation _ any moment.

  • 6. We _ the final at my place tonight. Do you want to come?

  • 7. John has got a promotion so he _ in London.

  • 8. I am fed up of the cold here. I_ in a warmer place.