The simple future verb tense has two different forms in English, will and be going to. Although the two forms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often express two very different meanings: will is used for offers and be going to is used for plans. Read on for detailed descriptions, examples, and simple future exercises.
Simple Future Forms
The will form of simple future is made with will + verb. Questions are indicated by inverting the subject and will. Negatives are made with not.
- Statement: You will help him later.
- Question: Will you help him later?
- Negative: You will not help him later.
FORM Be Going To
The be-going-to form of simple future is made using am/is/are + going to + verb. Questions are indicated by inverting the subject and am/is/are. Negatives are made with not.
- Statement: You are going to meet Jane tonight.
- Question: Are you going to meet Jane tonight?
- Negative: You are not going to meet Jane tonight.
Simple Future Uses
The simple future (also called future simple or future indefinite) is a verb tense which is used to show that an action will take place at a specific time in the future. The simple future is also used to talk about future habits and future generalizations. In many ways, the verb tense behaves like the simple past.
However, the simple future has two different forms will and be going to. Study the uses below to learn how to choose between the two forms.
USE 1 Will to Express a Voluntary Action
Will often suggests that a speaker will do something voluntarily. A voluntary action is one the speaker offers to do for someone else. Often, we use will to respond to someone else's complaint or request for help. We also use will when we request that someone help us or volunteer to do something for us. Similarly, we use will not or won't when we refuse to do something voluntarily.
- I will send you the information when I get it.
- I will translate the email, so Mr. Smith can read it.
- Will you help me move this heavy table?
- Will you make dinner?
- I will not do your homework for you.
- I won't do all the housework myself!
- A: I'm really hungry.
B: I'll make some sandwiches.
- A: I'm so tired. I'm about to fall asleep.
B: I'll get you some coffee.
- A: The phone is ringing.
B: I'll get it.
USE 2 Will to Express a Promise
Will is usually used in promises.
- I will call you when I arrive.
- If I am elected President of the United States, I will make sure everyone has access to inexpensive health insurance.
- I promise I will not tell him about the surprise party.
- Don't worry, I'll be careful.
- I won't tell anyone your secret.
USE 3 Be going to to Express a Plan
Be going to expresses that something is a plan. It expresses the idea that a person intends to do something in the future. It does not matter whether the plan is realistic or not.
- He is going to spend his vacation in Hawaii.
- She is not going to spend her vacation in Hawaii.
- A: When are we going to meet each other tonight?
B: We are going to meet at 6 PM.
- I'm going to be an actor when I grow up.
- Michelle is going to begin medical school next year.
- They are going to drive all the way to Alaska.
- Who are you going to invite to the party?
- A: Who is going to make John's birthday cake?
B: Sue is going to make John's birthday cake.
USE 4 Will or Be Going to to Express a Prediction
Both will and be going to can express the idea of a general prediction about the future. Predictions are guesses about what might happen in the future. In prediction sentences, the subject usually has little control over the future and therefore USES 1-3 do not apply. In the following examples, there is no difference in meaning.
- The year 2222 will be a very interesting year.
- The year 2222 is going to be a very interesting year.
- John Smith will be the next President.
- John Smith is going to be the next President.
- The movie "Zenith" will win several Academy Awards.
- The movie "Zenith" is going to win several Academy Awards.
In the simple future, it is not always clear which USE the speaker has in mind. Often, there is more than one way to interpret a sentence's meaning.
Like all future forms, the simple future cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of simple future, simple present is used.
- When you will arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Not Correct
- When you arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Correct
The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.
- You will never help him.
- Will you ever help him?
- You are never going to meet Jane.
- Are you ever going to meet Jane?
ACTIVE / PASSIVE
- John will finish the work by 5:00 PM. Active
- The work will be finished by 5:00 PM. Passive
- Sally is going to make a beautiful dinner tonight. Active
- A beautiful dinner is going to be made by Sally tonight. Passive
Simple Future Exercises
|Verb Tense Exercise 18||Will and Be Going to|
|Verb Tense Exercise 19||Will and Be Going to|
|Verb Tense Exercise 20||Will and Be Going to|
|Verb Tense Exercise 21||Simple Present and Simple Future|
|Verb Tense Exercise 22||Simple Present and Simple Future|
|Verb Tense Exercise 23||Simple Future and Future Continuous|
|Verb Tense Exercise 24||Simple Present, Simple Future, Present Continuous, and Future Continuous|
|Verb Tense Practice Test||Cumulative Verb Tense Review|
|Verb Tense Final Test||Cumulative Verb Tense Review|