The Future

The Future
For the formation of future tenses, see entry at ↑ Tenses.
talking about the future
You can talk about future events in a variety of ways. You use `will' or `shall' when making predictions about the future.

The weather tomorrow will be warm and sunny.

I'm sure you will enjoy your visit to the zoo.

You can also use the future continuous tense when you are referring to something that will happen in the normal course of events.

You'll be starting school soon, I suppose.

Once the war is over, they'll be cutting down on staff.

If you are certain that an event will happen, you usually use `be bound to' in conversation.

Marion's bound to be back soon.

The parade's bound to be cancelled now.

`Be sure to' and `be certain to' are also sometimes used.

She's sure to find out sooner or later.

He's certain to be elected.

You use `be going to' when referring to an event that you think will happen fairly soon.

It's going to rain.

I'm going to be late.

You use `be about to' when referring to an event that you think will happen very soon.

Another 385 people are about to lose their jobs.

She seemed to sense that something terrible was about to happen.

I was just about to serve dinner when there was a knock on the door.

You can also refer to events in the very near future using `be on the point of'. You use an `-ing' form after it.

She was on the point of bursting into tears.

You may remember that I was on the point of asking you something else when we were interrupted by Doctor Smithers.

intentions and plans
When you are talking about your own intentions, you use `will' or `be going to'. When you are talking about someone else's intentions, you use `be going to'.

I'll ring you tonight.

I'm going to stay at home.

They're going to have a party.

People tend to avoid using `be going to' with the verb `go'. For example, they would probably say `I'm going away next week' rather than `I'm going to go away next week'.
For more information on how to express intentions, see entry at ↑ Intentions.
You can also talk about people's plans or arrangements for the future using the present continuous tense.

I'm meeting Bill next week.

They're getting married in June.

The future continuous tense is also sometimes used.

I'll be seeing them when I've finished with you.

`Be due to' is used in writing and more formal speech to indicate that an event is intended to happen at a particular time in the future.

He is due to start as a courier shortly.

The centre's due to be completed in 1996.

The simple present tense is used to talk about an event which is planned to happen soon, or which happens regularly, in accordance with a timetable or schedule.

My flight leaves in half an hour.

Our next lesson is on Thursday.

The US Secretary of State flies to Moscow today for a final round of talks.

In writing and broadcasting, `to'-infinitive clauses are used after `be' to indicate that something is planned to happen.

A national centre to promote the efficient use of energy is to be set up in Milton Keynes.

The Prime Minister is to visit Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the autumn.

using the future perfect
When you want to talk about something that will happen before a particular time in the future, you use the future perfect tense.

By the time we phone he'll already have started.

By 1992, he will have worked for twelve years.

present tenses in subordinate clauses
In some subordinate clauses, you use a present tense when referring to a future event. For example, in conditional clauses and time clauses, you normally use the simple present tense or present perfect tense when talking about the future.

If he comes, I'll let you know.

Please start when you are ready.

We won't start until everyone arrives.

I'll let you know when I have arranged everything.

You also use a present tense in reason clauses introduced by `in case'.

It would be better if you could arrive back here a day early, just in case there are some last minute details to talk over.

For further information on tenses used in subordinate clauses, see entries at ↑ if and ↑ Subordinate clauses.
In a defining relative clause, you use the simple present tense, not `will', when you are clearly referring to the future in the main clause.

Any decision that you make will need her approval.

Give my love to any friends you meet.

The next woman I marry is not going to be so damned smart.

However, you use `will' in the relative clause when you need to make it clear that you are referring to the future, or when the relative clause refers to an even later time.

Thousands of dollars can be spent on something that will be worn for only a few minutes.

The only people who will be killed are those who have knowledge which is dangerous to our cause.

I send my boys to a good public school so that they will meet people who will be useful to them later on.

You use a present tense in reported questions and similar clauses which refer to a future event when the event will happen at about the same time as the reporting or knowing.

I'll telephone you. If I say it's Hugh, you'll know who it is.

However, if the future event is going to happen after the reporting, you use `will' in the reported question.

I'll tell you what I will do.

In a `that'-clause after the verb `hope', you often use the simple present tense to refer to the future.

I hope you enjoy your holiday.

For information on tenses in other `that'-clauses, see entry at ↑ Reporting.

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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