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Talking about the future

Level: intermediate

When we know about the future, we normally use the present tense.

1. We use the present simple for something scheduled:

We have a lesson next Monday.
The train arrives at 6.30 in the morning.
The holidays start next week.
It's my birthday tomorrow.

2. We can use the present continuous for plans or arrangements:

I'm playing football tomorrow.
They are coming to see us tomorrow.
We're having a party at Christmas.

3. We use will:

  • when we express beliefs about the future:

It will be a nice day tomorrow.
I think Brazil will win the World Cup.
I'm sure you will enjoy the film.

  • to mean want to or be willing to:

I hope you will come to my party.
George says he will help us.

  • to make offers and promises :

I'll see you tomorrow.
We'll send you an email.

  • to talk about offers and promises:

Tim will be at the meeting.
Mary will help with the cooking.

4. We use be going to:

  • to talk about plans or intentions:

I'm going to drive to work today.
They are going to move to Manchester.

  • to make predictions based on evidence we can see:

Be careful! You are going to fall(= I can see that you might fall.)
Look at those black clouds. I think it's going to rain(= I can see that it will rain.)

5. We use will be with an -ing form for something happening before and after a specific time in the future:

I'll be working at eight o'clock. Can you come later?
They'll be waiting for you when you arrive.

6. We can use will be with an -ing form instead of the present continuous or be going to when we are talking about plans, arrangements and intentions:

They'll be coming to see us next week.
I'll be driving to work tomorrow.

7. We often use verbs like would like, plan, want, mean, hope, expect to talk about the future:

What are you going to do next year? I'd like to go to university.
We plan to go to France for our holidays.
George wants to buy a new car.

8. We use modals may, might and could when we are not sure about the future:

I might stay at home tonight or I might go to the cinema.
We could see Mary at the meeting. She sometimes goes.

9. We can use should if we think there's a good chance of something happening:

We should be home in time for tea.
The game should be over by eight o'clock.

Talking about the future 1


Talking about the future 2


The future in time clauses and if-clauses 

In time clauses with words like when, after, until we often use present tense forms to talk about the future:

I'll come home when I finish work.
You must wait here until your father comes.
They are coming after they have had dinner.

In clauses with if we often use present tense forms to talk about the future:

We won't be able to go out if it is raining.
If Barcelona lose tomorrow, they will be champions.


Be careful!
We do not normally use will in time clauses and if-clauses:

I'll come home when I finish work. (NOT will finish work)
We won’t be able to go out if it rains(NOT will rain)

but we can use will if it means want to or be willing to:

I will be very happy if you will come to my party.
We should finish the job early if George will help us.


Hello Ahmed Imam,

Both are quite possible. 'Going to' expresses an intention, while 'will' expresses a sudden/spontaneous decision. In the context you provide, both would be possible.



The LearnEnglish Team

Liverpool's players are known to be skilled.they will win or are going to win or are winning the match easily. could you answer and say why you chose it
another question why he use is going to here
the other team's players are very big.It's going to be a difficult match.

Hello fdrewaserera,

Both 'going to win' and 'will win' are possible here.

'Going to win' is a prediction based on something you see or know now, such as the skill of the players.

'Will win' is more of a personal belief.

'Are winning' would tell us that the match has already stated. It describes something happening now, not in the future.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your reply
Can i use will in another question

Hello fdrewaserera,

You can, but it would depend on what the question is and in what context it is used.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,

I am learning about the 'going to' verb. But can you please suggest what all are the concepts I can confuse it to .. I mean can I confuse it to use it as any other tense form like past or present

Hello paritosh0125,

I'm not quite sure what you mean here. 'Going to' describes a person's intention or the expected result of a present situation, and it is one of the ways of talking about the future in English. You can see examples on the page above, and you can see a discussion of different ways of describing plans on this page:



The LearnEnglish Team

Is the future form "will" in the following sentence correct? I think we should use the form "isn't going to" as there is evidence: "being stubborn", right?
- For being stubborn, I expect she won't be persuaded easily.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam

What you say makes sense and yes, 'isn't going to' is a good choice here. But 'won't be' is also fine, as it expresses a belief about the future. In some cases, such as this one, more than one form is possible.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Sir ,
Is it correct to say 'After she will finish her degree , she intends to work in an office.'