This month will be the final blog in my series on the different forms used for future tense. This time, in Future Tense – Part 4 – Present Tense for Future, we will look at how simple present tense is used to talk about future happenings. And, I am going to finish this blog with a summary of the different forms of future tense.
In the first three parts of this series, we discussed various grammar forms used for future. In Future Tense – Part 1 – Will, we focused on how to use “will” correctly. Then, in Future Tense – Part 2 – Be Going To, we learned how to use “be going to”. And, in Future Tense – Part 3 – Present Continuous for Future, we looked at how present continuous tense is used for future arranged plans. I recommend reading these three blogs before reading this one.
In what situations do we use Present Tense for Future?
We use present tense for future in 1 situation:
We use present tense for future for things that are on a fixed schedule or timetable.
**movie schedules, TV show schedules, sporting event schedules, train/ bus/ flight schedules, class schedules, conference schedules etc.
Examples of fixed schedules and timetables:
Ex1. My flight to Bali leaves at 19:00 tonight.
Ex2. The baseball game starts at 3:00pm on Sunday.
Ex3. This lesson finishes at 7:45pm.
Ex4. I give my presentation at 3:30pm at the conference in September.
Ex5. The movie starts at 8:00pm.
※ We can also you “will” in these examples but simple present is more natural and more common for native speakers.
Now let’s review everything we have learned about future tense….
In English there are 4 choices for future that are used in 11 situations:
I/ will (6 situations) | Future Tense – Part 1
II/ be going to (2 situations) | Future Tense – Part 2
III/ present continuous (2 situations) | Future Tense – Part 3
IV/ present tense (1 situation)
We can divide the 11 situations into 3 categories:
will –> be going to | –> present continuous
When we talk about future plans we start with “will”, then we change to “be going to”, and if arrangements are made, we change to present continuous.
will (weak predictions)
be going to (strong predictions)
location of people or things – will
offers – will
requests – will
promises – will
refusals – won’t/will not
fixed schedules and timetables – present tense
As I said in my previous blogs, sometimes we can use “be going to” instead of “will” or “be going to” instead of present continuous without sounding strange. BUT in many cases, it sounds strange if we use “will” in “be going to” situations. It will sound especially strange if we use “will” for arranged plans (present continuous situations).
So be careful to not use “will” incorrectly! It may sound very strange to a native speaker.
And here is a tip…if you are not sure which form is best in a situation…use “be going to”. It probably will sound okay in most situations 😉
This is the end of my blog series focused on future tense. I hope it has helped you to understand how to use the different forms of “will”, be going to”, present continuous, and present simple for future. Good luck!
I hope everyone has a wonderful summer, and I will be back with another blog in the fall. That is a promise 😉
Smith’s School of English – Miyakojima