Talk about Future in English: will, going to, present continuous
How do you talk about future plans in English- meaning things that you will do or have planned after now? Talking about the future is an important step in learning any language. There are a few easy ways to talk about future plans in English: using will, be going to and the present continuous tense.
We talk in the future tense all the time because we like to speak about things coming soon. There are a few ways to do this. Do you know the difference?
- Will you help me?
- What are you doing when you get home?
- Are you going to study for your exam?
These are all common (heard a lot, popular) phrases, so it’s important to know how to form the correct (right, fitting, suitable) future tense in English. It will make sure that you are communicating the correct meaning.
Here’s a simple breakdown (cut into steps) of how to talk about ways to make plans in the future. Once you master (can do perfectly) these, you’ll be able to talk about the future with ease (easily).
Using will is a very easy way to talk about the future. You can use it to talk about spontaneous plans, offers (something you gift to someone), promises, threats (something bad you say you will do), decisions, and predictions (when you are only guessing with no facts).
- I’ve just decided. I think I will go to the movies tonight. (spontaneous plan)
- I’ll help you with your heavy grocery bags. (offer)
- I will be there on Saturday. (promise)
- I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too! from The Wizard of Oz (threat)
- I will buy the tickets tomorrow. (decision)
- You will be fine tomorrow! Don’t worry! (prediction made without evidence (clues, facts))
Will can be used for so many things, so it’s a great way to talk about the future if you’re just starting to learn English.
Going to is another common way to talk about the future. You can use it for predetermined intentions (when you hope to do something, but you don’t know for sure if you can) and predictions based on information, evidence, or facts.
- We are going to buy a house next year. (It’s our predetermined intention)
- I am going to go to my yoga class on Sunday if I’m not sick. (It’s my predetermined intention)
- He is going to have a bonfire on beach next week. (It’s his predetermined intention)
- They are going to give presentations in class on Friday. (This is their predetermined intention/plan)
- They said on the weather report that it’s going to rain tonight. (prediction based on the clouds, barometer, facts, etc.)
- Matt is sure we are going to get a table tonight at the restaurant without a reservation. He has never had a problem in the past. (prediction based on past experience)
The present continuous can be tricky for German speakers because it doesn’t exist in German! It’s very easy to use the present continuous to talk about future plans, because you can use it just like going to, but for 100% solid (fixed, sure) plans.
This is not used the same as present tense vs present continuous. You can read about that on our blog.
- I am giving a presentation tonight. (I will definitely be doing this)
- She is having lunch with me in an hour. (100% sure)
- Harry is meeting with Tony on Thursday. (100% plan)
- We are flying to New York in the morning. (Definitely going, 100%)
If you ever want to practice writing the future tense, don’t hesitate to send your exercises to us! We’d be happy to look it over for you and help you understand how to talk about future plans in English.
What are your weekend plans? Share them with us in the comments below!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and never makes a promise she can’t keep! If she says she is going to do something, she will do it!
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