What is the future of English

The tenses of the future in English - comparison

1. Use

will-futuregoing to-futureSimple presentPresent progressiveFuture ProgressiveFuture Perfect
  • Prediction, guesswork
  • spontaneous decision
  • inevitable event - future events do not depend on personal decisions
  • Plan in the future;
  • logical consequence (you see something coming)
future action is stipulated (e.g. timetable, timetable)established plan in the near futureAction is considered safe in the futureAction that will be completed at some point in the future

The differences between the individual tenses are sometimes very small and often dependent on the speaker. That's why you can often use several tenses. It also depends on whether the sentences are written or spoken, whether you live in England or the USA, for example.

In newspapers, for example, this is often the case will-future if you otherwise use that going to-future would take.

Newspaper:
The headmaster will close the old gym.

oral:
The headmaster isgoing toclose the old gym.


If you use the going to-future a time, then that would be that too Present progressive possible.

  • She isgoing tosee Frank at the airport at 8.30 am.
  • She is seeing Frank at the airport at 8.30 am.

2. Signal words

There are no signal words that clearly require one of the above tenses. That is why it is important to determine the actions and thereby the tense.

3. Education

will-futuregoing to-futureSimple presentPresent progressiveFuture ProgressiveFuture Perfect
will + infinitiveto be (am, are, is) + going to + InfinitiveInfinitive - 3rd person singular (he, she, it)Infinitive + -sto be (am, are, is) + infinitive + -ingwill + be + infinitive + -ingwill + have + past participle *

4. Examples

4.1. Affirmative statements

will-futuregoing to-futureSimple presentPresent progressiveFuture ProgressiveFuture Perfect
The sun willshine tomorrow.
(Tomorrow the sun will shine.)
We aregoing tofly to Leeds in summer.
(We'll be flying to Leeds in the summer.)
The train leaves at 6.45.
(The train departs at 6:45 a.m.)
I am going to a party tonight.
(I'm going to a party tonight.)
They will playing football on Sunday afternoon.
(They'll be playing football on Sunday afternoons - as always.)
She will have written the letter by tomorrow.
(She will have written the letter by tomorrow.)

4.2. Negative statements

will-futuregoing to-futureSimple presentPresent progressiveFuture ProgressiveFuture Perfect
The sun will not shine tomorrow.
(The sun won't shine tomorrow.)
We arenotgoing tofly to Leeds in summer.
(We won't be flying to Leeds in the summer.)
The train doesnotleave at 6.45.
(The train does not leave at 6:45 a.m.)
I am not going to a party tonight.
(I'm not going to a party tonight.)
They will not play football on Sunday afternoon.
(They won't play football on Sunday afternoons - as they always do.)
She will not have written the letter by tomorrow.
(She won't have written the letter by tomorrow.)

4.3. ask

will-futuregoing to-futureSimple presentPresent progressiveFuture ProgressiveFuture Perfect
Will the sun shine tomorrow?
(Will the sun shine tomorrow?)
Are we going tofly to Leeds in summer?
(Will we be flying to Leeds in the summer?)
Does the train leave at 6.45?
(Will the train leave at 6:45 a.m.?)
Am I going to a party tonight?
(Will I go to a party tonight?)
Will they playing football on Sunday afternoon.
(Will they be playing football on Sunday afternoons - like always?)
Will she have written the letter by tomorrow.
(Will she have written the letter by tomorrow?)

* past participle:

  • regular verbs → infinitive + -ed
  • irregular verbs → 3rd column of the table of irregular verbs