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Unit 5: Making arrangements

Need to organise something? In this unit, you can practise common phrases used to make plans by email.

Making arrangements

Think about these points when the purpose of your email is to make an arrangement.

Useful questions

Here are some typical questions used for making arrangements:

  • Are you free next Tuesday afternoon?
  • What time would you like to meet?
  • When would be convenient for you?
  • Could you please let me know?

Expressions of time

Use on with days: Could we meet on Monday?

Use in with months, years and other expressions: I'm going to visit my grandparents in October.

Use at with times and other expressions: Could you please call me at 3pm?

Use next to refer to future times: I hope we can meet again next week.

Use when to start a future time clause: Let's meet again when it is convenient.


To speak about a timetable, use the present simple: Next term runs from 1 September until 16 December.

To speak about a future arrangement, use the present continuous: Mr Toshiko is coming to our next meeting.

To speak about a plan, use 'be going to': Next term we are going to learn about pollution.

See the talking about the future page for more practice.

Tenses in complex sentences about the future

Use the present simple after when, if and next time in future time clauses:

  • I will call you when I get to the station.
  • I'm going to work with my dad when I finish school.
  • Let's go for a walk if the weather is good.
  • Will you visit the Eiffel Tower next time you are in Paris?

Language level

Intermediate: B1
Pre-intermediate: A2


Hello ali shah,

The commas around slowly are necessary here, I would say. This is because the adverb slowly is inserted into the middle of a list. We have the verb (participle) killing and then a list of objects:

killing (1) crops, (2) livelihoods, and (3) the nation as a whole (as a whole is the phrase to use here)


Slowly is added to this list as an aside - a bit of extra detail about the last item. Separating it with commas makes this clear and is appropriate.

There are rules regarding commas but these only apply to certain uses. For others, it is more a question of style and clarity. In this case, the best style is to use commas, in my view.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
This is my first time posting a comment and asking a question, first please comment on my texts what I am writing whether it is correct or wrong. Second, what is the rule for putting a comma and a colon in the following sentence?
To speak about a timetable, use the present simple: Next term runs from 1 September until 16 December.

Hi qayum2s,

The use of the colon in the sentence you ask about is unusual, so I wouldn't recommend taking it as an example. The comma is often used after an infinitive of purpose when that infinitive comes first in a sentence. If the words came in a different order, the comma would not be used – 'Use the present simple to speak about a timetable'.

If you'd like to ask us about a specific part of a specific sentence, we're happy to help you but I'm afraid we don't provide the service of correcting users' texts.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Is it right?
To avoid getting stuck in traffic jam, set off earlier in the morning.

Hello qayum2s,

Yes, that sentence is fine. The infinitive here (to avoid) is an example of an infinitive of purpose, which has a similar meaning to in order to avoid.



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for replying, I got it.

comma is used if the conditional is used as the first clause of a sentence and I have read that if the conditional comes in the beginning, we put comma after it and then write another clause. However, I have read many reading which doesn't follow this rule. Either the rule is wrong is not applicable, or the ones write wrong?

Please reply with examples

Hello ali shah,

Different publishing houses follow different rules for punctuation and style, but in general I'd say that a comma is usually used after an initial 'if'-clause and not after a final 'if'-clause. I'm afraid I can't explain why other texts choose not to follow this general rule.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Dear Sir!
I have learned that we don't use colon(:) after a dependent clause and anyone does so is on wrong, but I have come across articles of eminent writers who do that. For example, '' The only question is: can India not to invest in its people at this stage?''
Here the colon is used after a dependent clause. Does it nullfy the rule of not using colon before a dependent clause? Sir, please make me clear this.

Hello ali shah,

I am always leery of such hard and fast rules as this regarding punctuation. I was taught a similar rule and would phrase the sentences differently:

The only question is this: can India not to invest in its people at this stage?


Most respected style guides follow this line. However, punctuation rules are always in a state of flux and you can find examples of the colon used after dependent clauses or even after single phrases or words.



The LearnEnglish Team