Look into the Future: The Complete Guide to the Future Simple in English
Hello, dear English learner.
I’m looking into my crystal ball, and I can see your future.
Oh, yes. The images are becoming clearer.
I see you watching entertaining American movies in English and listening to some very cool English pop songs.
Did I mention that you might be traveling?
Yes, I see you speaking English on a trip to Canada. Or perhaps you’re studying English in England.
Your English journey has a lot of fun and excitement in the future.
And you’ll be able to describe it better by learning a useful English verb tense called the future simple!
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Where to Practice the Future Simple in English
How do you make sure you master the future simple in English and experience your awesome English future that I saw in my crystal ball?
You need to practice, of course!
In fact, you can practice the future simple online. That way, you can use it more naturally in actual English conversations. This will make talking about the future easier, and you can better express your thoughts, wants and ideas.
- Ego4U. I first recommend this online quiz from Ego4U. It’s a simple fill-in-the-blank activity that has you adding the word “will” into sentences before the verb (the action word) to create sentences that talk about the future.
- Perfect English Grammar. Next, I recommend this fill-in-the-blank quiz from Perfect English Grammar. The idea is the same—you add “will” into the sentences before the verbs—but there’s a “check” button beside each exercise so you can make sure you wrote in the correct answer.
- English Page. To finish off, I recommend another fill-in-the-blank quiz from English Page. While you’re there, check out two additional exercises. They’re dialogues between two speakers, so they’re a great way to practice your reading skills as well as the future simple in English.
What Is the Future Simple Tense?
So, what exactly is the future simple tense in English?
Firstly, the future simple talks about things that haven’t happened yet.
These aren’t things that have happened in the past or things that are taking place in the present (right now).
Instead, they’ll happen in the future.
Furthermore, there’s usually a certainty that these actions will happen. That means that these things will happen later today, tomorrow, next week or even next year.
The future simple can talk about any point in the future, no matter how close or far away.
The future simple is also called “simple” because creating it is very easy. I’ll explain more in the next section, but here’s a hint: you only need to add one word!
The sentences “tomorrow I will wake up at eight o’clock” and “I will buy a new car when my old one dies” are both using the future simple in English. In both situations, we’re talking about a point in the future, and we’re certain that these things will happen.
Another small point to know is that the future simple describes an action that’s also said to be completed in the future. This means this action isn’t ongoing or repeating, and instead has a clear end.
Take a look, for example, at the sentence, “I will be working tomorrow.”
This sentence is implying that the action of work will happen tomorrow, but it doesn’t say that it’ll be completed. In this case, we use a verb tense called the future progressive to show the action is incomplete or repeated.
How to Form the Future Simple in English
As I mentioned in the previous section of this post, forming the future simple tense is easy.
You simply need to add the word “will” before the main verb.
The main verb is the one that’ll happen in the future, and it doesn’t change.
That means it follows “will” in the infinitive (or the form that you’d find it in the dictionary).
The word “will” also doesn’t change depending on the subject (the person doing the action). That means that whether you start your sentence with “I,” “you,” “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” “you all” or “they,” the word that follows in the future simple is always “will.”
I will sleep at nine o’clock.
Here, the main verb (the future action) is “sleep.” It’s in the infinitive or dictionary form. We also added the word “will” before “sleep.”
This shows that the action will be completed in the future.
Forming the Future Simple in English with Contractions
Now that we have the basics down, let’s look at some other ways this structure can change.
Firstly, the word “will” can combine with the subject to become: -‘ll.
This is called an English contraction.
For example, we could contract “will” in the sentence “I will sleep at nine o’clock” to be “I’ll sleep at nine o’clock.” The meaning is the same between the two sentences, but the second one with the contraction is a little more informal.
This contraction can happen with the other subjects to get “I’ll,” “you’ll,” “he’ll,” “she’ll,” “it’ll,” “we’ll” and “they’ll.”
Forming the Future Simple in English with “To Go”
Secondly, the future simple can also be formed with the verb “to go.”
This form of the verb “to go” replaces the word “will” in the sentence. This is also an informal way to talk about the future.
To create this, simply make the verb “to be” agree with the subject, add the words “going to” and put in the main verb.
I’m going to sleep at nine o’clock.
I’m going to play tennis tomorrow.
We can make this even more informal by shortening “going to” to “gonna.” This is a slang way of talking about a future action.
I’m gonna sleep at nine o’clock.
I’m gonna play tennis tomorrow.
How to Form a Question in the Future Simple Tense
To turn the simple future in English into a question, change the places between “will” and the subject.
This would give us a question such as:
Will you go to school?
Note that the answers to these questions are almost always “yes” or “no” (or sometimes “maybe!”).
You can also change the places of the “to be” with the subject to get a yes/no question such as “are they going to eat dinner?”
To ask for specific information, you can add a Wh- word at the beginning of the sentence.
When will you come to school?
Where are they going to eat dinner?
Keep in mind that the positions of the “will” and the subject (or the “to be” and “going to”) doesn’t change when adding a Wh- word to a question.
How to Form a Negative in the Future Simple Tense
For negatives in the future simple in English, add the word “not” after the words “will,” “to be” or “going to.”
I will not do my homework
We are not going to sell our house.
Keep in mind that “will not” often shortens to “won’t” when you’re speaking in informal situations. This gives us sentences like, “I won’t do my homework.”
My crystal ball is never wrong, you see—I knew you’d master the future simple in English in no time!