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The Future Tense Part 1
There are many ways to describe the future in English, however there are four future tense-forms which are the most commonly used and therefore, the most important.
These forms are:
*will *going to
*the present continuous *the simple present
While these forms may be somewhat similar to each other, and even though they are sometimes interchanged in their usage, for the most part, each form represents and is used for a different type of future event.
The auxiliary verb 'will' is the most formal of all future tenses and it can be substituted for most of the others below, especially when speaking in formal or professional situations. This future form is created by using 'will' + infinitive, however in speaking-English, the contracted form, 'll, is most often used.
'Will' is most often used to describe:
By the year 2030 all students will have their own computers in school.
Global warming will destroy the earth.
I don't think the boss will be happy about your performance this month.
Statements of Future Fact (or perceived fact)
The president will serve for four years before the next election.
I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.
You won't pass your exams if you do not start studying!
Use 'will' in conversation to talk about your predictions for the future or future facts.
Can 'will' be substituted with another future-form? Exchange the will-form with another future-form and determine with your teacher whether it can be appropriately used.
The future-form 'going to' is used to describe a personal intention or plan for the future that someone has decided upon. It is also used to describe future predictions based on a current situation.
In (casual) English-speaking, the content word 'going' is most often linked to the function word 'to', producing 'gonna'. Only use 'gonna' is a speaking-situation and never use it in written English, unless you are quoting someone or writing creatively.
This future form is created by using 'going to' + infinitive or, in informal speaking, 'gonna' + verb
Note: 'gonna' is an example of two linked words 'going' and 'to' and so it is only used when speaking.
Future Intentions and/or Plans
What are you going to do after this lesson?
I'm gonna buy a new car this month.
She's gonna call her on Friday.
Future Predictions Based on a Current Situations
We are not going to make it on time if you keep walking so slowly.
I am tired of smoking. I'm gonna quit smoking this year.
The ocean looks like it is going to be very wild today, so don't go swimming.
Note: “going to' is also used with the past tense of 'to be' to describe a past event that was planned but did not occur.
I was going to buy you lunch but you already paid the bill.
Our friends were going to visit, but the wife got sick and they had to cancel.
Talk about your some of your future plans or predictions for the rest of the day based on the current situation. Exchange 'going to' for another future-form and determine whether it can be appropriately used for that particular sentence. Email us at ONLINE TUTORING with your answers.