In Grammar By Jana

Ways of expression for future action in the English language

In everyday speech, we use the future very often. Our plans, dreams, intentions, goals, forecasts — all this for the future. Not always, talking about the future, we use the grammatical form of the future tense. This is true both for Russian and for the English language. Let’s take an example:


Tomorrow I go to the movies. — I am going to the cinema tomorrow.

Both the Russian and English languages, only the word «tomorrow» indicates that we are talking about the future.

Let’s see what else there are ways of expressing future action in the English language.

To start out the difference between the ways of expression of future actions as will and to be going to:

↓ Download the table «methods of expression future action» (Part 1) (* .pdf, 226 KB)

The situation is the use of Will To be going to
1. Plans for future events that have to happen in the future. More formal.
The teacher will explain this rule next week.
The teacher will explain this rule in the next week.
Less formally.
I am going to play poker on Saturday.
I’m going to play poker on Saturday.
2. We predict anything based on our experience. I know Jack. He will be disappointed when he finds it out.
I know Jack. He was upset to hear about this.
3. We expect something based on what we see now. Look at her. Is she going out like that?
Look at her. She could go?
4. We are talking about the future, using the words: I bet, I expect, I hope, I imagine, I reckon, I think, I wonder, I am sure. I hope we will not wait too long for the car.
I hope we will not wait too long the machine
Also possible, but it sounds less formal.
I am sure he is going to meet her at the airport.
I am sure that he will go to meet her at the airport.
5. We are talking about a decision that we have just decision. Thanks for visiting us. I will call you tomorrow.
Thank you stopped us. I’ll call you tomorrow.
6. We’re talking about the decision adopted earlier. Formal situation.
The decision will be announced at 14.00.
The decision will be announced at 14.00.
I am going to help my mum because she asked me about it.
I help my mother, because she asked me about it.
7. In the main clause, if the clause is coupled Union if, if something (usually negative) depends on something. If she does not prepare well, she will fail the exam.
If it is not well prepared, she failed the exam.
If she does not prepare well, she is going to fail the exam.
If it is not well prepared, she failed the exam.
8. Actions in the main and subordinate clause does not depend on each other. She is going to the cinema, if you want too. (Do you want too?)
She is going to the movies, do not you?
9. The main proposal expresses offer, request, promise, ability and others. If you train a lot, you will lose weight. (Capacity)
If you’re going to train a lot, you lose weight.
If he comes, I will let you know. (Promise)
If he comes, I’ll let you know.

In general, one can identify a certain pattern that helps a little bit make a choice between these structures for future action expression in the English language: the construction will more formally, while to be going to more often used in everyday speech.

And now look at the differences between the Present Simple and Present Continuous to express future actions:

↓ Download the table «methods of expression future action» (Part 2) (* .pdf, 228 KB)

The situation is the use of Present Simple Present Continuous Future Simple To be going to
1. Schedules agreement, unchanging plans. The plane lands at 14.25.
The plane landed at 14.25.
Less formal plans and agreements
He is coming to us tonight.
He will come to us tonight.
Less formal plans and agreements
He is going to come to us tonight.
He will come to us tonight.
2. In subordinate clauses, the connection unions after, as soon as, before, by the time, when, while, until. Before you start eating, wash your hands.
Before you start eating, wash your hands.
By the time she arrives, we will have done all the work.
By the time it comes, we have already done all the work.
3. In terms of subordinate clauses, joined unions if, in case, provided, unless. She will come and fix it, in case you can not do it yourself.
It will come, and all repairs, if you can not do it myself.
4. Co words suppose, supposing, what if in the beginning of the sentence. What if they let us down? How will we solve the problem then?
What if they fail us? How do we solve the problem then?
5. We are talking about intentions that are still not exactly matched. I am not celebrating this with them (I am not going to …)
I’m not going to celebrate it with them.
6. We’re talking about events beyond our control. The unemployment will increase this year.
Unemployment will rise this year.
It is going to be a very rainy summer this year.
This year will be a very rainy summer.
7. The permanent, unchanging situation in the future. The global heating will influence the climate.
Global warming will affect climate.
She is going to live in New York.
She will live in New York.

As you can see, Present Continuous is used mainly to express plans, clear agreements in the future.

We now turn to the remaining three forms of the future tense in the English language used to express future actions, namely: Future Continuous, Future Perfect and Future Perfect Continuous:

↓ Download the table «methods of expression future action» (Part 3) (* .pdf, 218 KB)

The situation is the use of Future Continuous Future Perfect Future Perfect Continuous
1. We are talking about something that should begin before a certain point in the future and will continue after that point. They will be working together in summer.
They will work together in the summer.
2. We are talking about the event, which is commonplace, repeated in the future. He will be eating his soup at 12.00 as usual.
He will eat your soup at 12.00, as usual.
3. We are talking about action that is agreed in advance. John will be helping you to decorate the room.
John will help you decorate the room.
Moreover, if we express our intention, invitation or request, we will use the Future Simple:
John will help you to decorate the room. (He offers his help.)
John will help you decorate the room. (It is proposed to make.)
4. We are talking about an action that runs to a certain point in the future. By the time she arrives, we will have done all the work.
By the time it comes, we have already done all the work.
5. We want to emphasize duration at some point in the future tense. Next Tuesday you will have been studying in the University for one semester.
Next Tuesday will be a year as you study at the university.

But that’s not all. Future action in the English language can be expressed also by other structures:

↓ Download the table «methods of expression future action» (Part 4) (* .pdf, 215 KB)

Design The situation is the use of Example
To be + infinitive • Used in news reports when talking about the events that are expected in the near future.
• Formal agreements, instructions, orders.
• Action in the future is controlled by people.
• As part of the subordinate conditional offer with the union if (if the paranasal part expresses a consequence of what happens in the main part).
Taxes are to be collected by the end of the year.
Taxes will gather at the end of the year
The government is to issue a decree.
The government will issue a ruling.
The Prime Minister is to give a public speech.
The Prime Minister will speak publicly.
If you are to enter the University, you have to study a lot.
To go to university, you have a lot to learn.
To be about to + infinitive
To be on the verge of + ing verb or noun
To be on the brink of + ing verb or noun
Something is going to happen (or not) in the very near future. It is used often in everyday speech. He is about to leave. Hurry up if you want to catch him.
He’s going to go away. Hurry if you want to catch him.
You are on the brink of loosing your job.
You’re on the verge of losing work.
To be due to + infinitive Something has to happen at a particular time. This document is due to be published next Monday.
This document will publish next Monday.
To be set to + infinitive Something is ready to occur. My report is set to be my first professional disaster.
My report obviously is my first professional disaster.
To be sure to + infinitive
To be bound to + infinitive
Something has or is likely to occur. You are sure to be proposed very soon.
You certainly will soon make a proposal.

As you can see, there are many ways to express future actions, do not worry if some of them seem very similar, and you can not feel the difference. Time and practice will help you master all the subtleties and nuances of the language.

 

Grammar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>