Preparation: Future Tenses
The most commonly used tenses for talking about the future are:
- Simple Present
- Present Continuous
- Going to
Here is an overview of how we use them:
To talk about how things are scheduled:
- The train arrives at 4:00 pm
- The meeting starts at 9:30 tomorrow morning.
- The school holidays end next week.
Present continuous for future:
To talk about fixed plans where there is a future time reference, or it is clear from the context we are talking about the future
- I’m going on holiday to Greece in the summer
- I’m having dinner with my sister on Sunday.
- I’m going swimming tomorrow.
(Don’t forget that verbs of state cannot be used in the continuous form. These include to be, to like, to know, to belong, to agree, to seem, to prefer, and to recognize)
Going to future:
For fixed plans and intentions with or without a time reference.
- I’m going to go on holiday to Greece in the summer.
- I’m going to buy an electric bike.
- I’m going to go walking in the mountains.
- I’m going to go swimming.
For spontaneous decisions or when we are in the process of making decisions
- I think I will go shopping this afternoon.
- Maybe I will go cycling.
- The phone is ringing, I’ll answer it.
- I think I’ll go to bed early.
For if clauses
- If the weather is nice, I’ll go cycling.
- I’ll take the train to Munich if there is a train at the right time.
- If they open the swimming pool in the summer, I will go swimming.
When stating opinions
- Do you think it will rain tomorrow?
- Do you think you will go to the beer garden?
- I think it will be a great success.