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Future Grammar Guide
Introduction Ø There are several ways to use verbs to talk about the future in English. Ø This is a complicated area of grammar: the differences between the meanings and uses of the different structures are not easy to analyse and describe clearly. Ø In many, but not all situations, two or more structures are possible.
Introduction The choice of form often depends on whether we are: 1. making a prediction → WILL + VERB 2. expressing an intention → TO BE GOING TO + VERB 3. talking about an arrangement → Present Continuous (TO BE + V-ING)
1. Predictions Ø We use the future simple WILL + verb WON’T to talk about predictions which are based on guesswork, analysis or judgement. We’ll still be here in twenty years. Will interest rates rise in the next few weeks? Tomorrow will be warm, with some cloud.
1. Predictions Ø We often use will to predict an event which we think will happen because similar events have happened in the past: He’ll be in prison for a long time. (= Similar crimes have attracted long sentences. ) The laptop battery will give you about two hours’ continuous use. (= This is what previous batteries have done. )
Decisions at the moment of speaking Ø We often use the future simple to talk about a decision made at the time of speaking: Oh, our guests are here. I’ll go and sort out some drinks for them. You look tired. I’ll cook dinner tonight.
shall Ø Especially in formal Br. E used in 1 st person singular and plural instead of will : I shall / we shall (sounds oldfashioned) Shall I / Shall we. . . ? in spoken Br. E used to make a suggestion, or ask a question that you want the other person to decide about: Ø Shall I open the window? Ø (= Do you want me to open the window? ) Ø Ø Shall we say 6 o'clock, then? What shall I get for dinner?
2. Intentions Ø We use BE GOING TO + VERB for intentions – for actions that have already been decided on, plans previously made for the future: He is going to study environmental law next year. I'm going to buy a new car soon.
2. Intentions Ø We usually avoid BE GOING TO + VERB with the verbs go and come: I'm going home now. Are you coming? I'm going to go home now. Are you going to come?
Present evidence to predict future Ø We also use BE GOING TO + VERB to predict the future on the basis of present evidence – to say that a future action or event is on the way, or starting to happen (the prediction is often about the near future): Look at those black clouds. It's going to rain. Look out! You’re going to spill the wine!
3. Arrangement Ø We use the present continuous AM / IS / ARE + V-ING to talk about personal arrangements and fixed plans, especially when the time and place have been decided and we have made some form of commitment: I'm playing tennis with John tomorrow. We’re seeing Larry on Saturday.
3. Arrangement We’re seeing a musical at theatre next week. (= We’ve got the tickets. ) Ø Compare this with the use of be going to: We’re going to see a musical at theatre sometime next week. (= not arranged yet; the focus is on our intention, plan)
Summary Compare: Ø I'll visit my family. (= prediction or decision at the moment of speaking) Ø I'm going to visit my family this summer. (= my future plan, intention) Ø I'm meeting my family at 6. 00. (= a fixed arrangement involving other people: my family, they know about it)
Summary Compare: Ø I'll get a new job one day. (= I think it will happen. ) Ø I'm going to get a new job. (= I have decided to start looking for it. I can’t stand my boss any longer. ) Ø I'm getting a new job. (= I have arranged an interview for tomorrow. )
Summary Compare: Ø I'll get married one day. (= I think it will happen. ) Ø I'm going to marry this girl/boy. (= I have just met a wonderful person and I think he/she is my ideal spouse. I express my intention. ) Ø I'm getting married on Saturday. (= Everything is arranged for our wedding. )
Summary Compare: Ø Don’t lend him your car. He’s a terrible driver – he will crash it. (= prediction based on speaker’s knowledge) Ø Look out – we are going to crash. (= There is outside evidence. )
Summary Compare: Ø Alice is going to have a baby. (= present evidence – she is pregnant) Ø The baby will certainly have blue eyes, because both parents have. (= speaker thinks it will be like that, basing the opinion on the knowledge about genetics)
Summary Compare: Ø I’m seeing Janet on Tuesday. (= arrangement, she knows about it, we have discussed it) Ø I wonder if she will recognise me. (= prediction, I guess, think, believe, there is no present reference)
Try to use the correct structure while expressing the future!
Ø Are you going to visit relatives this weekend? Ø Yes, I am. / No, I am not. Ø John is going to visit relatives this weekend and so am I. Ø Mike is going to have a business lunch next week but I am not.
In the 2020 s Ø Choose five prompts and write questions based on them: Do you think people will have more free time in the 2020 s?
In the 2020 s Ø Ask questions, listen to the answers and make notes: Answers l l l Yes, definitely. Yes, probably. Maybe. No, probably not. No, definitely not. Notes → → → ?
In the 2020 s Ø Do you think people will have more free time in the 2020 s? / / ? / Ø Answers l Yes, definitely. → l Yes, probably. → l Maybe. → l No, probably not. → l No, definitely not. → Notes ?
In the 2020 s Ø Sum up the survey by writing sentences: Five students think that people will definitely will probably might have more free time in the probably won’t 2020 s. definitely won’t
In the 2020 s … Ø I think China will definitely be the most powerful country. Ø I think a woman will probably become the president of Poland. Ø I think people might have cure for cancer. Ø I think people probably won’t live on Mars. Ø I think students definitely won’t have robot teachers.
In the 2020 s Ø Can you now make a few predictions about your future: In the 2020 s I will definitely be a millionaire. I probably won’t live in Poland. I might have a castle in Scotland.
Write sentences. Use the correct future form. 1. I / think / it / be sunny tomorrow. I think it will be sunny tomorrow. 2. That man / crash his car! That man is going to crash his car! 3. I / do the shopping for you? Shall I do the shopping for you? 4. Liz / meet Johnny tonight. Liz is meeting Johnny tonight. 5. We’ve decided we / buy a new car. We’ve decided we are going to buy a new car.
Write sentences. Use the correct future form. 6. Harry / break anything you give him. Harry will break anything you give him. 7. Watch out! You / fall off that ladder! Watch out! You are going to fall off that ladder! 8. Jess can’t come. She / play squash with Joe. Jess can’t come. She is playing squash with Joe. 9. I’ve decided I / cook some fish today. I’ve decided I am going to cook some fish today. 10. In the future people / spend their holidays on space stations. In the future people will spend their holidays on space stations.
NEF Pre-int. 3 C Ø keep a promise Ø break a promise Ø Find and underline these words: either / eternal / injection / journey / plumber / research /