How do we use the simple future tense?
Knowing verb tenses is a fundamental part of learning any language, especially English. As you probably know, the verb in a sentence shows the action. The tense tells us when the action is, was, or in the case of this lesson, when the action will be or is going to be.
Today we are going to look using the simple future tense to talk about the future in English.
In general, we use will to talk about the future when we do not have a definite plan. Since will is used when there is not a definite plan, we often use words and phrases like maybe, perhaps, and I think with will. Remember, will is often contracted:
I will → I’ll…..she will → she’ll…..he will → he’ll…..we will → we’ll, etc.
- I have no plans for the weekend. Maybe I‘ll clean the garage
- I think I will move to Florida when I retire.
- Andy said maybe he‘ll buy that house he was looking at.
Now, there are other uses for will, which we are going to look at in another lesson! So in summary, we use will when there is not a set plan. What do we do when we do have a plan?
Well, we use be going to when there is a definite plan:
- A friend of mine is going to get married this weekend.
- I am going to go to the beach this weekend.
- Jenny is going to see a movie tonight.
In some cultures, maybe is used to soften a statement in order to make it seem less direct. In American English, we do not use maybe this way. Be careful! It sounds strange to use maybe with be going to:
Tommy: What are you going to do this weekend?
Johnny: Maybe, I am going to go to Boston for my cousin’s wedding. This sounds strange!
Keep in mind the best way to remember this or any vocabulary in English is to take the word or phrase write it in a sentence that’s true for you or true in your world and then memorize your sentences.
You can even take your sentences and write them in the comments below. I would love to see your examples. And if you really want help with vocabulary, sign up for my free vocabulary workshop (see below).
If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!
FREE Vocabulary Workshop
Learn how to get, learn, and remember vocabulary
Building vocabulary is the key to speaking more fluently and with more confidence.
- Where and how to get new words
- The best way to study and learn your new words
- How to own your new vocabulary
My students tell me that it’s easy to learn new vocabulary words, but really difficult to remember them when you need to use them. Now, I’ll show you how to do both!
Start really building your vocabulary today! (Free PDF download included)