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.

 

 

Exercise

Comments

Hi Mbazarov,

The present continuous implies that your plan is more arranged in some way than using 'going to'. For example, in your first sentences, 'I'm playing' suggests that you've already spoken with your friends and know when and where you are going to meet. 'I'm going to play' could mean the same thing, but focuses more on your intention; it could be that you just recently realised that you can play tonight because, for example, the meeting you had at work has been cancelled.

The same idea is true for your second sentences.

As for the third sentences, using 'going to' could express your firm determination to be rich more than 'will', but otherwise, in most contexts, there'd be little difference.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I have seen both following sentences and I dont know which is correct,and I appreciate if you can help me with this:

1.My mom is going to be 50 next month.
2.My mom will be 50 next month.

thx

Hello Mohsen.k77,

Both of these sentences are correct and there is no real difference in meaning here. In some contexts, where the speaker wants to speak about something she plans to do, for example, 'going to' would be the best form. But here the mother's age next month is a fact so there is no real difference.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir,
you mean we can use be going to to talk about facts too or age is an exception? if we can use it for all facts could you please give me some more examples?

sorry taking your time

best regards
Mohsen

Hello Mohsen,

It's more common to use 'will' to speak about facts, but 'going to' is sometimes used as well. I'm afraid I can't explain all the possible uses of 'going to' to speak about a fact in the future, but, for example, you could say 'I'm sure the sun is going to rise tomorrow'. I'm sorry not to be able to be more specific, but there are many possibilities! In general, I would recommend you use 'will' for facts and 'going to' for plans or intentions.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter and Kirk,
We can say ' I am going to Poland tomorrow but
Can we say ' I will go to Poland tomorrow
Similarly while asking questions
Can we ask ' will you go to Poland tomorrow? Or ' are you going to Poland tomorrow? Which one is correct?

Hello jitu_jaga,

All of those sentences are grammatically correct. Which one is appropriate will depend upon the context and the speaker's intention. Are we talking about a plan, a promise, an intention...?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Good Evening!
If I turn the following sentence into an indirect speech, what does 'will' change to -- 'would' or 'should'?
-- He said to me, 'Will you do it for me?'
I am confused! Please, help me.
Thank you in advance!

Hello Prap,

The change here is will > would:

He asked me if I would do it for him.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Thank you very much for your answer to my question under present continuous 'basic'
I also went through the web site you mentioned in your answer.But I would like to know this: that is 'I am buying another car soon../ I am going to buy another car soon.'
If the above two sentences are grammatically correct and the second sentence is a plan or intention. Could I say the second one is not so strong? I might change my intention or plan/idea. The first one is strong may be I have paid an advance, too. I think there is a difference.For e.g. I am flying to London next Sunday./ I am going to fly to London next Sunday. (I might change my mind) I haven't bought the ticket yet.
What I would like to know is the first one is fixed or arranged but the second is unsure.
I am I right or wrong. Please let me know.
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

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