Future Time: All forms, Rules, and Usages with easy Examples

Future Time and its types

As the future is uncertain there is only Future Time, not Future Tense. We know the past. We know the present. But, we do not know the future. We can be hundred per cent sure about the past and the present. But we can never be 100% sure about the future.

In English, there can be several structures and tenses to talk about future time. But, there are 4 types of FUTURE TIME FORMS/TYPES that are often used to express FUTURE TIME. It is usually the degree of certainty about the future that decides one’s choice of structure or tense or future-time forms to use. In this step, you will learn about FOUR TYPES OF FUTURE FORMS that are often used to talk about future time.

               I am sure, you must have already learnt that the English verb has two tense forms ­­- the Present and the Past. These two tense forms are mainly used to talk about actions or events taking place in the present or past time respectively.

Understanding the Present Tense, Past Tense and Future Time

For Example:

                1. Mr Dash teaches us English. (Present tense form for the present time)

                2. Mr. Pradhan taught us English last year. (Past tense form for the past time)

                In sentence (1) ‘teaches’ is the simple present tense form and it tells us about an action that takes place in the present time i.e. now. In sentence(2) ‘taught‘ is the past tense form of ‘teach’ and it tells us about an action that took place in the past i.e. last year. But English verbs have no specific future tense forms. When we want to talk about a future action or event, we use several other ways to express it.

Understanding the Future Time with examples

Look at the following sentences.

                3. I shall surely come with you.

                4. The sky is clear. It’s going to be a sunny day.

                5. Tomorrow is Sunday.

                6. Ram is coming here tomorrow.

                All the above sentences refer to the future time. In sentence (3) the speaker is expressing a wish or promise to do something in the future. In sentence (4) we have said that the day will be sunny because we have got its indication in the clear sky at the moment of speaking. In sentence (5) we are talking about something that will happen naturally whether we want it or not. In sentence (6) we are talking about Ram’s plan for tomorrow. Note that we have used different verb forms to talk about the future. These verb forms also indicate whether the action will happen because of the speaker’s wishes, plans, arrangements or because of a natural process.

Types of Verb forms to indicate the future

                We mainly use the following verb forms to indicate the future.

Sl. No.Future Time Verb Forms Examples
1Be going to + Main verb in the base form.We are going to meet the president tomorrow.
2The present continuous (Be+ Main verb in the ing form)I am building a house very soon.
3The present simpleOur examination starts tomorrow.
4Will/Shall+ Main verb in the base form.I shall/will go home next week.
Types of Future Time


                Now let us discuss how and when we use the above verb forms to talk about the future.


(1) Be going to+ Main verb (in the base form)

“Be going to”  has 03 different forms for different subjects. Look at the examples:

(a)  I am going to build a house.

(b) He/She/ Subir is going to build a house.

(c)  We/You/They are going to build a house.

In the above sentences, you will find that the verb ‘be’ changes according to the subjects. In negative sentences ‘not’ is used after the be verb.

Example: S/he is not going to help you.

Use of Be going to + Main Verb

(a) To talk about the future fulfilment of a present plan or intention:

                6. I am going to visit my parents tomorrow.

                7. Arjun is going to paint a picture.

                8. What are you going to do in the afternoon?

                In the above sentences, we are talking about the personal intention, plan or decision of the speaker or the doer of the action. Sentence (6) tells us about the speaker’s intention or decision to visit his parents, and sentence (7) is about Arjun’s plan to paint a picture. Sentence (8) asks a question to know about a person’s plan or intention for the afternoon. The time indicated in the sentences is the future. The subjects here are either in the first or third person in a declarative sentence. In question sentences, they are usually in the second or third person.

(b) To talk about a future fulfilment of a present cause or indication (to say that something will happen because the cause is seen/ felt in the present moment).

                9. The sky is cloudy. It is going to rain soon.

                10. You are late. You are going to miss the train.

                11. Look, the man is going to fall.

                In the above sentences, the speaker expects or concludes something to happen in the future. His conclusion is based on his observation of some external cause or arrangement that already exists at the moment of his speaking he sees black clouds in the sky. Similarly in sentence (10), You will miss the train because its cause (= You are late) exists at the moment of speaking. In sentence (11), the speaker concludes that the man will fall because its cause (=he has lost his balance on the tight-rope) is clearly seen by him.


Complete the sentences using the correct form of be going to and choosing the appropriate verb from the following verbs(Dismiss, finish, be, marry, fail, sell, borrow, send, have, close)

Example: Q.    Look at the bright sun. It ______very hot today.

                Ans.       Look at the bright sun. It is going to be very hot today.

1. Madhu is not working hard. He ______his examination.

2. My car is old. I______ it.

3. It is four o’clock. The school_____soon.

4. Raman is a lazy worker. The manager_____him.

5. I need some money. I ______ some from my friend.

6. Mary is buying some ornaments. She _______ next week.

7. My son is five already. I _______him to school soon.

8. The children are tired. They______ some rest now.

9. You are eating a lot. You_______ fat very soon.

10.  I am writing the last chapter. I _____ the book very soon.


Complete the passage using the (be going to ) form and the appropriate verbs from the following verb(request, have, buy, guide, hire)

We __________ a picnic next Sunday. We have requested our class teacher to accompany us. He __________ us in the arrangement. First of all, we __________ a bus. I __________ my father to arrange a good one. We need vegetables and other cooking materials. We __________ them in a local market. I hope we all will enjoy the picnic.

(2) The Present Continuous: (is/am/are + the main verb in the -Ing form)

We use this form to talk about plans or arrangements made for a particular time in the future . Look at the sentence below:

12. We are having a picnic Tomorrow

(=We have already arranged for it)

13. What are you doing tomorrow?

(=What plans have you for tomorrow?)

14. Tomorrow is a Sunday. I am taking the children to the zoo.

(I have already decided to do so.)

Remember, when we use the present progressive to talk about a future plan arrangement or programmer, we use a future time adverbial like soon, tomorrow, next Sunday etc. to indicate the future(time): Otherwise the sentence will refer to the present time, see the contract:

16. I am going home. (Now/Present time)

17. I am going home tomorrow. (Future time)

Verbs indicating movements such as come, go, arrive, take, fly , return etc. are very often used in this form to show the future.

(III) The Present Simple:

We use the ‘present simple’ tense to talk about future events which are on time table or are part of a fixed plan or arrangement. This kind of use is very limited in English and is used especially in talking about official programs. Look at the examples.

18. Tomorrow is a holiday.

19. The train leaves at 9 a.m.

20. Our Examination starts on Monday next.

21. What time does the match begin?

In all the sentences above we are talking about events which are on a timetable. We cannot change them as they do not depend on our wishes. They are all official arrangements.


 Say if the verbs underlined refer to the present or to the future time. Write your answer against each number. One has already been done for you.

I am reading a book on the caves of Ajanta. I am goingthere next month. My parents and I are havinga holiday there. We are staying there in a friend’s house. I am very excited about it. I am really looking forward to it. We are also visiting the Ellora caves which are not far. Before our journey, I  am finding out as much as I can about the caves from the book.

  1. Presnent
  2. ___________
  3. ___________
  4. ___________
  5. ___________
  6. ___________
  7. ___________

Use the present simple or the present continuous form of the verbs give in brackets.  

  1. Our Annual Sport Day (start) on Monday next and (end0 the following Saturday.
  2. All my classmates (participate) in the annual sports.
  3. The bus (leave) Cuttack at 7 a.m. and (reach) Sundargarh at 5 p.m.
  4. What (you, do) this evening?
  5. Tomorrow (be) my birthday and I (have) a party on this occasion. All my friends (come) to join it.
  6. My parents (go) to the theatre this evening. They will go early as the film (begin) at six.
  7. I (be) not free this evening. I (meet) an old friend.
  8. Our school (reopen) on 6th July after the vacation.
  9. What time (the next train, leave)?
  10. I (go) to the town. (You, come) with me?

(iv) Shall/Will Base form of the Main Verb


Affirmative Sentences (full forms)(Short forms)
22. I shall/will go home tomorrow.I’ll go home tomorrow.
23. They will build a new house.They’ll build a new house.
24. It will perhaps rain soonIt’ll perhaps rain soon.
Negative Sentence Sentences (full forms)(Short forms)(only for spoken English)
25. I shall not/will not go home tomorrow.I shan’t/won’t go home tomorrow.
26. They will not play football in the afternoonThey won’t play football in the afternoon.

‘Shall’ and ‘will’  take the short form[‘ll] in the affirmative sentences and are attached to the subject. In negative sentences ‘shall’ not becomes shan’t and ‘will’ not becomes won’t. They are not attached to the subject. The short form or contracted form is mainly used in spoken English.


You have seen in examples from 22 to 26 that will is used with all the subjects irrespective of their person or number, but shall is used only with the first person singular (I) or plural (We). Nowadays will is increasingly used with the first person subjects in affirmative sentences.


Shall and will are modal auxiliaries and you have learnt about their various modal functions in Basic English Grammar i.e Step-20 to 23. Shalland willare also used to talk about the future in the follow examples.

(a) For the statement of future facts:

27. The train will be late by half an hour.

28. I shall be sixteen next week.

29. This work will take two weeks to finish.

 In the above sentences we are talking about some future facts. They are not dependent on our wishes or desires. Sometimes we may also talk about things which we think or hope will happen. In such cases we usually use I hope, we expect, I feel, probably, perhaps, etc. in the sentences. Look at the examples.

30.  I think you will feel better after a rest.

31.  Probably they will leave this place soon.

32.  I am afraid she won’t agree.

33. Perhaps, we will have our examination next month.

34. I’m not sure, he’ll come here.

(b) For expressing a sudden decision taken at the moment of speaking:

35. The phone is ringing.  I’ll answer it.

36. Wait a minute. I’ll come with you.

37. It’s raining. I’ll take an umbrella

38. You can’t do it alone. We’ll help you.

Note that the subjects in such sentences are either I or We.  The decision is taken more or less at the time of speaking, though the actual action follows closely behind.


Complete the sentences using the ‘ll+verb or won’t/shan’t as in the examples:


(a) What time will you meet me?

Ans. I hope, I’ll meet you at ten.

(b) Will he come to school today?

Ans. I am afraid, he won’t. He is ill.

1. Will you give her the message?

Sure, I_____     ______her the message as soon as I meet her.

2. What will be the weather like?

I think, it_____     ______ rough to day.

 3. Why do you plant trees?

Because, they _____     ______us fruit, flowers and shade

4. Will you meet Sheela at school?

No, I _____. She _____  come to school as she’s ill.

5. Will you hurt others?

No, I _____ hurt others. It’s wrong to do so.

6. Kamala: Please don’t tell this to others.

Sushree: Okay, I_____ tell anybody about it.

(V) Be going to, Will or The Present Continuous:

(a) We can use will or be going to to talk about a prediction,

39. I’m sure it will rain today.

(a prediction based on personal assessment).

40. The sky is cloudy. It is going to rain today.

(A prediction based on present indications)

Note that in sentence 39 our predication depends entirely on our personal thinking or judgment. So we usually use I think or I’m sure etc., in the sentences when we use will. See examples from 30 to 34 for more samples. But when we use be going to, our prediction is based on a present evidence The Present Continuous is not used to predict. We cannot say

*I’m sure it is raining today.

*The sky is cloudy. It is raining today.

(b) We use be going to when the future action is very close. We do not use will in such situations.

41. Look! The child is going to fall.

(Not, look! The child will fall.)

42. Help The man is going to drown.

(Not, the man will drown.)

43. Run! The bull is going to attack you.

 (Not, the bull will attack you.)

(c) When we talk about plans or arrangements we use be going to or the Present Continuous, but not will

44. I’m going to learn English soon.

(It is my plan or intention.)

Or, I’m learning English soon.

(I have arranged for it.)

45. We are going to have our examination next week.

(It is a plan/programme)

Or, we are having our examination next week. (It is a fixed plan/ programme)

But we cannot say:

I will learn English soon.

We will have our examination next week.

(d) When we take an instant decision, we use only will, not be going to or the present continuous

46 Wait, I’ll help you lift the bag.

(Not, I am going to help / am helping you lift the bag.)

47 It’s very cold. I’ll give you a coat.

(Not, I am going to give /am giving you a coat)


Choose the correct alternative to complete the sentences.

1. What is your plan for tomorrow? I will am going to clean my room.

2. Can you see the dark clouds? Yes, it will is going to rain soon.

3. Have you posted the letters? Not yet, I will/going to post it right now.

4. The signal light is green now. The train will is going to move.

5. The hunter is pointing his gun at the bird. He will is going to shoot it.

6. What kind of questions do you expect? I hope, the questions will/are going to be easy.

7. Don’t go out, you will / are going to catch a cold.

8. What will you have, egg or fish? I think, I will / am going to have fish.

9. Mother has bought some fish. We will/ are going to have a nice meal to day.

10. Don’t play with a knife. You will are going to cut your finger.

11. Mina Can you teach me computer? Tikina Gladly, I will/ am going to show you how it works.

12. Suresh I heard you have got a loan from the bank. Umesh Yes, I will/ am going to buy a car with it.

13. I have sold my old scooter. I will/am going to buy a new one. 14. Everyone will is going to die one day.

15. We have found a suitable boy for my sister. She will is going to marry next week

16. Don’t worry. I will am going to come back on Sunday.


Use the best form of the verb given in the brackets in the following sentences.

(will, be going to, the present simple or the present continuous

1. Wife: We have run out of milk.

Husband: Have we? I (go) and get some.

2. The match (finish) at four and (be) back home by five.

3. You have got a job. When (you, give) a party to us?

4. I’m afraid I cannot come to dinner on Sunday. I (go) to Cuttack that day.

5. Lulu (be) fifteen next Wednesday.

6. You are sneezing. You (have) a cold.

7. They are playing well. They (win) the match.

8. I think we (win) the match tomorrow.

9. Mina and Tutu (get) married in June.

10. Take this medicine. You (feel) better soon.

II. THE FUTURE: The Progressive and the perfect.

The Future Progressive.


Will/Shall+be+ the main verb in the -ing form:

Positive: I’ll be working tomorrow at four.

Question: Will I be working tomorrow at four?

Negative: I won’t/will not be working tomorrow at four.


We use the future progressive to say that we will be in the middle of an action in the future or an action will be going on a particular time in future. Study the following situation and the conversation between Sushree and Mr Pradhan that follows:

Mr. Pradhan eats his lunch between 1.30 and 2. Sushree wants to meet him at 1.45.

Sushree: Can I see you at 1.45, sir?

Mr Pradhan: No, don’t come then. I will be eating my lunch at that time.

Sushree : When can I see you then?

Mr Pradhan : You can come at 2.30. I will have finished my lunch then.

In the above examples Mr Pradhan will be in the middle of his lunch at 1:45. In other words his eating will be in progress at that time. Other examples:

5. I will be walking to school at 10.

6. She will be watching TV in the evening.

7. She will be playing football tomorrow at this time.

8. You won’t find it difficult to know my sister. She will be wearing a green frock

and will be waiting for you at the school gate.

The Future Perfect


Will + have + main verb in Past Participle.

They will have finished everything by winter


We use the future perfect to talk about something which we will finish before a time in the future. Study the conversation between Sushree and Mr Pradhan in example 4 above Mr Pradhan will finish his lunch at 2. He asks Sushree to come at 2.30

Mr Pradhan: Come at 2.30. I will have finished my lunch then.

Some more examples

9. I will have reached school by 10.30.

10. Next year by January I will have completed one year in this school.

11 You can take the book on Sunday. I will have finished the book by then

12. We will have passed matriculation by June next

13. She will not have returned home until four in the afternoon.

We often use the preposition by and in negative sentences till/until with the time

Adverbials in such sentences


Decide whether to use the future progressive or the future perfect and complete

the sentences.

1. We (complete) the house by the end of January

2 A chess match will be played between Harish and me from 7 pm to 9 pm. (play) chess tomorrow at 8 p.m. 1 (finish) playing by 9.30.

3. I will take five days to read this novel. I began the novel today. I (read) the novel for the coming four days.

4. Today is Monday. I will take five days to read the novel 1 (finish) the novel by


5. I am going to my uncle who lives in Bhubaneswar I (stay) with him for a week

I (return) home by the beginning of the next week

6. I am going to the market. I (return) before the children come back from school

7. The film begins at six and ends at nine. We (watch) the film tomorrow at seven.

8. I (go) to the shopping mall later this evening. Do you want anything for you?

9. Do not telephone him at two.  He (rest) then

10. I am saving money for a scooter. I (save) enough for it by the end of this year

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