Tenses

Future Simple

We use the Future Simple to talk about coming events, promises, predictions, unplanned actions.
Also when we want to express determination, intention, when we ask, threaten, refuse, order or when we show ability to do something and when we refuse.

Subject + WILL + Verb (present form)
  • The concert will start any moment now.
  • I will clean up my room. I promise!
  • I think it will rain.
  • The telephone is ringing. I will pick it up!
  • I will get you some tea.

Use

  1. Coming events
  2. Promises
  3. Unplanned actions and spontaneous decisions
  4. Predictions
  5. Asking
  6. Threaten, orders
  7. Refuse, unwillingness

Read more about Future Simple in Passive Voice

Use 1: Coming Events

When we talk about coming events which are objective and we don’t have any influence on them:

  • The competition will start at 9.
  • We will know the election results tomorrow.
  • Jane will arrive in a few minutes.

Use 2: Promises

When we make promises using promise, swear, guarantee:

  • I promise I will buy you this toy.
  • Swear you will never leave me!
  • You have my guarantee I will never do it again.
  • I will do my best!

Use 3: Unplanned Actions and Spontaneous Decisions

When we talk about unplanned (spontaneous) decisions:

  • Don't worry! I will help you with this problem.
  • I will close the window. It's starting to rain.
  • This phone is a real bargain. I will buy it.

Use 4: Predictions

When we make prediction based on experience or intuition we often use verbs such as:
think, believe, feel sure, hope, be afraid, suppose with adverbs: perhaps, possibly, probably, surely:

  • I hope my parents will let me live with my girlfriend.
  • I'm afraid it will be rain in a moment.
  • The president will probably sign the bill.

Use 5: Asking

  • Will you lend me 50£?
  • Will you do me a favour ?

Use 6: Threaten, Orders

  • Stop talking or I will punish you!
  • You will never reveal your password to anyone.

Use 7: Refuse, Unwillingness

  • Julie won`t see the doctor.
  • Our children won’t eat vegetables.
The last use of this tense is interesting: we can also use the Future Simple to express annoying behaviour,
which are the consequence of the character or habits:
  • He will keep asking stupid questions.
  • Jack will wear this silly cap.
  • They will always make noise when we are sleeping.
You should never use will to say what somebody has arranged or decided to do in the future:
  • Mike is moving to New Jersey next month. (not "Mike will move.")
  • I'm going to visit my friend tonight. (not "I will visit my friend tonight.")
  • Paul isn't free on Thursday. He's working in his aunt's shop.

As you can see, the Present Continuous and going to are used to express future arrangements.

Shall

You can also use shall to express future in the Future Simple.
It is more formal than will, and usually appears in formal speeches, agreements or guarantees:

  • The guarantee shall be provided on the following conditions: (...)
  • Delivery shall take place at the agreed time.

We use shall as a proposal or suggestion:

  • Shall we go to the theatre?
  • Shall I close the window?

When we ask in first person to know about someone’s wishes or willingness:

  • What shall I do now ?

Going to

You can also use going to to express future. We use it to express predictions based on observing the present situation:

  • It's going to rain. Look at the clouds!

Be going to is another form to express the future. We mainly use it to talk about planned actions or to make predictions.

Be going to form is very similar to the future simple. Both forms can express prediction, however those predictions are not the same.

Read more about Going to

You can read about the difference between the two here.

Form

Declarative Sentences

Subject

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Verb

e.g. I/a dog etc.

will

e.g. work/go/make

Read more about contracted forms.

WILL = 'LL

  • She'll dance = she will dance.

WILL + NOT = WON'T

  • She won't dance = she will not dance.

Won’t and will not have the same meaning but in essays and formal writing it is better to use will not.

I'm afraid when I'm 60 years old, I will be completely bald.
(Use 4: Predictions)

Questions

Auxiliary verb

+

Subject

+

Verb

will

e.g. I/a dog etc.

e.g. work/go/make

Negative Sentences

Subject

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Verb

e.g. I/a dog etc.

will not (won`t)

e.g. work/go/make
  • I won't take any heavy equipment with me.
  • I'm sorry I won't be able to help you with your English today.
  • I expect that Sally won’t clean up her room, unless you help her.

Check your understanding!