Isn’t it amazing that within a minute we will be in the future? Time has some crazy dynamics. The future becomes past in a minute. It’s difficult to think about things that will happen in the future…but it’s much easier to talk about them. When we talk about the future, we can make plans and predictions. But, to do so you must know the future tense in English.
To speak about the future in English, you must first learn some basic information about the English future tense. However, if you want to speak proficient English, you must learn every detail. You must understand when, how, and why to use the future tense.
Below are some of the mind-blowing and crazy facts about future tense in English.
1. You can speak about the future but there is no future tense in English
Confusing, right? Let us explain it to you. The English language allows you to speak about the future, which is known as the future tense. However, many people who study languages will tell you that the English language lacks a future tense.
Tense is the way we speak about time. Using the right tense can change the meaning of your sentence: is it raining now (in the present tense) or will it rain tomorrow (in the future tense)?
Tenses are essential. So, why would anyone claim that the future tense does not exist? This is due to the fact that there is no way to change the verbs (action words) themselves for the future tense.
The ending of a word must change to be tense. In fact, you could argue that the only tenses in the English language are “past” and “non-past.” You now understand that there are no different verb endings in the future tense. This indicates that no changes to the words are required. This also means that there are no irregular verbs to remember.
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2. To Speak about the future, we use “Auxiliary Verbs”
The term “auxiliary” refers to “something that provides additional support or assistance.” An auxiliary verb is a verb that assists in changing the main action verb to the future tense. This auxiliary verb is not the most important part of the sentence.
When you say, “I will make him a call”, the word “make” is crucial. The word “will” is simply there to indicate that the writing will be completed in the future.
Now that we know about the auxiliary verb and its usage, we are in a better position to move toward the two most commonly used words for future sentences such as ‘will/shall’ and ‘going to be’.
3. We use will/shall’ and ‘going to be’ in future tenses
The two most common future tense auxiliary words are “will” or “shall,” and “is going to.” In fact, the word “shall” is rarely used these days because it sounds too formal. You only need to remember the word “will”, because it is used more commonly.
The unchanged form of the verb follows either word. For instance, if you want to meet someone, you can say, “I will meet you tomorrow” or “I am going to meet you tomorrow.” “To meet” did not change. It simply follows the auxiliary verb.
Unless you use the negative form, these words are all placed together. In that case, insert the word “not” in the middle, as in “I will not meet you tomorrow,” or “I will not meet you tomorrow.”
You can also insert the words “never” or “always” between the auxiliary verb and the main verb in this manner. “I will always remember you,” for example, or “I will never forget you.”
4. There is very little difference between the Auxiliary verbs
That is, in most cases, you can use either one and the sentence will still be correct. There are only a few minor but significant distinctions between using the word “will” (or “shall”) and the phrase “is going to:”
Use “will” to make predictions or state facts about the future
Predictions are predictions about what will or will not happen in the future. It is possible to forecast that “it will not rain tomorrow” or that “the world will end in a week.”
You can also state future events in this manner, such as “the sun will rise at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow” or “you will never learn basketball if you just lay on your bed all day.”
Use “going to” to make plans or express intents
An intention is something you intend to do or something you hope to do. You can tell your friend, “I’m going to study more tomorrow!” if you want to stop watching YouTube and actually study more.
Keep in mind that these differences are minor. You can also say, “I will study tomorrow,” which is also correct.
5. You can use the present tense to talk about the future
This is the most interesting one. The use of auxiliary verbs is not the only way to discuss the future. You can always use the present tense! In this case, there is a bit more to remember because the present tense is used for the future in more specific ways.
You use the simple present tense to talk about scheduled events, which are usually things that will happen soon and over which you have no control over. “The series begins tonight at 8 p.m.,” for example, or “the bus departs in ten minutes.”
You can use the “is verb+ing” form of the present continuous tense for arrangements or scheduled events that have been discussed and planned ahead of time. “My parents are coming to visit for Halloween next year,” or “What are you doing tomorrow morning?”
The word “will” is another way to use the present continuous tense. This is used to show what will happen at a specific point in the future. For example, in response to the last question, you could say, “I will be in class tomorrow morning.”
6. For future statements you can use the present tense
The future perfect tense is not used as frequently as the other forms in this article, and it is a little more complicated. The perfect tense comes in two varieties: simple and continuous.
To use the simple future perfect tense, say “will have” followed by a verb’s past participle form. “Will have gone,” “will have taken”. Use the words “will have been” followed by the verb+ing form of the action word to form the future perfect continuous tense. “Will have been going,” “will have been taking”.
The future perfect tense is used to discuss the past in the future. “The bus will have left by the time I get to the station.” This sentence indicates that an action will have occurred at some point in the future.
This tense can also be used to emphasize time passing. “I’ll start eating dinner at 7 p.m. tomorrow.” I’ll have eaten for 30 minutes by 7:30 p.m.”. This sentence expresses how long a future action will last.
The action can begin in any tense, but if it ends in the future. For example:
- Past perfect: “We had gotten a divorce in 2010.”
- Present perfect: “It is now 2022 and we have been divorced for 5 years.”
- Future perfect: “By 2023 we will have been divorced for 10 years.”
These were some of the interesting yet thought-provoking aspects of the future tense in English. You can seek help from English learning books to observe the application of future tenses in English text materials. This exercise will also help you to know the difference between several confusing words in English such as has vs have.
Getting command of tenses takes time and practice. Write the application of future tense and try to use them in your conversations. It will improve your understanding of English tenses.