Future Simple

The best way to predict the future is to create it. In this lesson, you will learn to talk about the future in English using 'will.'

"Future Simple" Tense in English Grammar

What Is Future Simple?

Future simple with 'will' is one way to talk about future events and plans. Future simple with 'will' is one of the rare cases in English that need an auxiliary verb in affirmative sentences as well as negative sentences and questions.

Will as an Auxiliary Verb

To form sentences in the future simple tense, the auxiliary verb 'will' is required. This auxiliary verb serves as an indicator of future events. Whenever you see 'will' as an auxiliary verb, it signifies that the sentence is referring to the future. It's important to note that auxiliary verbs, including 'will,' function as helping verbs, with the main verb coming after them in the sentence structure.

Future Simple with Will: Structure

In order to make affirmative sentences in the future simple tense, you need to place 'will' before the subject at the beginning of the sentence, followed by the base form (infinitive without 'to') of the main verb. It's important to note that the main verb following 'will' should remain in its simple form and should not take the third person 's' or 'ing'. Look at the following example:

Julia will move out of the dormitory by the end of the week.

You can also use the contracted form of 'will.' To do so, add '-'ll' to your subject instead of 'will.' Remember that, contracted forms are informal and therefore they are used mostly in speaking rather than writing. For example:

She'll be so sad when she finds out her dog passed away.

Future Simple with Will: Negation

Now that you know how to make affirmative sentences about the future, making negative sentences is easy. All you have to do is adding 'not' to 'will' and your sentence will become negative. See the example below:

Karen will not go to the funeral next week.

You can also use the contracted and informal form of 'will not,' which is 'won't.'

They won’t invite many guests; only close friends and family.

Here, you can see the process of negation and contraction.

Future Simple with Will: Questions

We already talked about affirmative and negative sentences with 'will;' then, we discuss how you can make yes/no questions and wh- questions about the future. Yes/no questions in future simple are basically affirmative sentences with a different word order. To make these questions, you need 'will' at the beginning to help you make the question, and the subject and main verb follow right after. For example:

Sarah will help Allan paint his house. → Will Sarah help Allan paint his house?

They will pass the test. → Will they pass the test?

As is evident by the name, you need wh- question words to make wh- questions. Wh- question words are: what, when, where, who, how, why.
To make a wh- question, put the wh-word at the beginning and add your auxiliary verb, 'will,' to it. The subject and base form of the main verb comes next. Look at the following examples:

I will give your book back on Wednesday. → When will you give me my book back?

Jane will make sandwiches for everybody. → Who will make sandwiches for everybody?

Using Future Simple to Talk about Requests

Future Simple with Will: Uses

You can use future simple with 'will' for the following purposes:

  1. Prediction
  2. Promises & Offers
  3. Spontaneous Decisions

Prediction

We often use the future simple tense to make a prediction about future facts and for uncertain situations (i.e. what we think will happen but we are not totally sure about it). Look at the examples:

It will snow tomorrow.

Here, we are forecasting the weather.

I think Mr. Jackson will give the speech.

We can use the future simple tense with 'will' if we have a firm plan or decision when the main verb is 'be.' Remember, we usually use other tenses or expressions to refer to a firm plan or decision in the future (such as present continuous, or to be going to) unless the main verb is 'be.' For example:

I'll be in London tomorrow.

Will you be at work tomorrow?

We use the simple future to talk about an opinion, hope, uncertainty, or assumption regarding the future. Sometimes we only guess about things that will happen in the future, in this case, you use the simple future tense. Here are the examples:

You won’t finish it in just one day.

He will probably come back tomorrow.

It will rain tomorrow anyway.

Promises & Offers

We use the future simple tense to make an offer. In this case, it is mostly used in affirmative sentences. Here are the examples:

I'll help you with your homework.

Here, we are offering help to someone using future simple tense.

I will carry the luggage.

We use the future simple tense to talk about wanting to do something or not wanting to do something in the future. In this case, you have made your mind up in advance. Check out the examples:

I will do it tomorrow.

Sometimes people use the negative form of 'will' to refuse to do something. In this case, you can even use the contracted form of 'will not' which is considered more common. Check out the examples.

I won't go!

They won't take the cat back.

Here, we are reporting that the subject is refusing to do something.

Sorry! I won't cheat on the exam.

We use the future simple tense with the pronouns 'I' or 'we' when there is no plan or decision to do something. We make the decision spontaneously while speaking. All the process of making the decision happens in a moment in this case. Here are the examples:

Don't worry, I will help you study for the math exam.

Here, we are making a decision on the spot.

Wait, I'll get a pen.

We use the future simple tense in the interrogative form to make an offer or request. As you might know, interrogative mood indicates a question. When you want to make a polite offer you can use the 'simple future tense' in a question. For example:

Will you marry me?

Will you take this man as your lawfully wedded husband?

Sometimes we use the verb will to give orders using the 'tag questions.' Check out the examples for more clarification.

Help me! Will you?

Close the window! Will you?

Spontaneous Decisions

We use 'will' to talk about spontaneous decisions decided at the moment of speaking.

Wait here. I'll go get some help.

I forgot to call my boyfriend. I'll do it after dinner.

The First Conditional

We use the simple future with 'will' in the first conditional. The first conditional is used to indicate an event that is probable to happen if something else happens. The resulting clause has a simple future tense. Look at the examples:

If it doesn't rain, we'll go to the park.

If I need help, I will tell you.

Review

Future simple is used to talk about the future as its name represents. One of the common ways, especially in the formal English language, is to use the auxiliary verb 'will.' Now, look at the table below for a better understanding of the contraction, question, and structure of future simple tense:

Affirmative Form I will travel to Tokyo.
Contraction Form I'll travel to Tokyo.
Negative Form I will not travel to Tokyo.
Contraction Form I won't travel to Tokyo.
Yes/no Question Will you travel to Tokyo?
Wh-question Where will you travel (to)?

Simple Future Functions

  1. Prediction
  2. Spontaneous decisions
  3. Promises
  4. Offers
  5. Requests
  6. The first conditional
  7. Opinions, hopes, uncertainties, or assumptions

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