Should I use future tense here? I read a sentence on a website as following: What do you like to do during your free time? Well, there’re many things I do, for instance I’ll read a book by myself during my time off at the bookstore to enrich myself, or I’ll hang out with my friends during my free time at the mall to have fun. I think we should present tense because I am talking about habits, so I should "I read books by myself during my time off ...." am I right ? how you think about this ? Thanks
May 11, 2016 3:19 AM
Answers · 7
Please understand that 'I'll read a book' is NOT a future tense in this sentence. Many learners of English presume that 'will' is always a future tense. This is not the case at all. There are many different use of 'will' and and not all of them are to do with the future. In this context, it refers to a typical behaviour or habit in the present. It does not refer to future time. Yes, you can use a present tense, but the 'will' form is better. By the way, the 'would' form to indicate past habit - 'When I was a child I would often spend hours drawing pictures' - is the past form of this.
May 11, 2016
You can certainly use the present tense too, but it doesn't mean you can't use "will" as the original sentence does. "will" doesn't automatically mean the future tense. It can mean one's intention and yes, habits and tendencies too. "Boys will be boys" for example doesn't mean the future but that they tend to be, i.e, they habitually act like boys. On, #7 meaning of "will" shows: "am (is, are, etc.) habitually disposed or inclined to:". So I say your example is fine as it is written. There are more than one ways to express the same idea.
May 11, 2016
Well done! Yes, you are exactly correct in using the present tense, because it is a habit. When speaking most English speakers might say: "I like to read books on my time off." It is very common to repeat the main verb from the question in your response, so in this case 'like' is the verb used.
May 11, 2016
I'm a former English teacher. My opinion: if you are talking about something you do alone ("I like to read books . . ") use the present tense. If you are talking about something you would be doing with someone else ("I would like to go to the movies . . .") use the future tense since it is something you may do that you are not doing now. Just my opinion. Bob
May 11, 2016
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!