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

  • We use the present simple for something scheduled or arranged:

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

  • 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.

2. We use will to talk about the future:

  • When we make predictions:

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.

3. We use (be) going to:

  • To talk about plans and intentions:

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

  • When we can see that something is likely to happen:

Be careful! You are going to fall.
Look at those black clouds. I think it’s going to rain.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. We can use should if we think something is likely to happen:

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

7. Clauses with time words:

In clauses with time words like when, after, and until we often use a present tense form 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.

8. Clauses with if:

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

We won’t be able to go out if it rains.
If Barcelona win tomorrow they will be champions.

WARNING: We do not normally use will in clauses with if or with time words:

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

But we can use will if it means a promise or offer:

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

9. We can use the future continuous instead of the present continuous or going to for emphasis when we are talking about plans, arrangements and intentions:

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





Hi, about the past in future actions, I came across this sentence :" it's not as good as I thought it was going to be"

Could you please explain this construction?

May I say" it's not as good as I thought it was"?

Thank you very much


Hello FadeFade,

In the past the speaker thought it was going to be very good – this is their thought in the past about the future.

In the present it is not so good.

Thus, the speaker says

It's not as good (present time) as I thought (past time) it was going to be (future in the past)



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir
This is from the above website: I will come home when I finish work.
Can one say: I will come home when I have finished work. Is this grammatically correct? I think this correct if so do both of these sentences give the same meaning?
Please let me know?


Hello Lal,

Both forms are possible and in most contexts there is no difference.


The present simple form (...when I finish...) means that the person will return as soon as they finish work.


The present perfect form (...when I have finished...) usually also means this, but in certain contexts it could mean that the person is going to do something else before returning. Thus we could say:

I'll return when I've finished work and (have) done the shopping

but we would not say

I'll return when I finish work and do the shopping



The LearnEnglish Team

The government has come out with the predictable defence that it merely exercises a power already acquired by the government during its predecessor regime. This will not wash.

Sir, I have not understood the meaning of ' This will not wash ' here.

The following question needs to be answered in future perfect (negative)
•Will your friends depart for Spain this evening?
Ans: No , my friends will not have departed for Spain this evening.
Sir, my query is do the two negatives make the sentence positive? Or am I correct?

Hi amrita_enakshi,

It strikes me as a bit odd to use the future perfect to answer that question. But if you did use it, then yes, your sentence is correct. It's not a double-negative, i.e. it means they are not going to be traveling to Spain this evening.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir.

Hello Learn English Team
My enquiry in regard to the above test sentence:
"I am having lunch with Gill today. We've got some things to discuss."
Would there be any difference if we said " We have some things to discuss"?
Why the present perfect has been used instead of simple present?
My best regards