Future tenses – part two

English students learn WILL for Future Tense and they often don’t know that native speakers also use Present Continuous and Present Simple when they are talking and writing about the future. As a result, students overuse WILL. Look at the following sentences:

1. If I miss the 5.30pm bus, I’ll get the train. It leaves at 6.00pm.

2. You’re just in time for the film! It starts in five minutes.

3. Thank goodness you’ve arrived! The game is about to start.

As you can see, Present Simple can be used for schedules and timetables. It’s easier to understand this when you remember that Present Simple is used for things that are always true and / or facts.

Let’s look again at 3:

3. Thank goodness you’ve arrived! The game is about to start.

There is often more than one correct way to say something in English. The game is scheduled to start soon. We could say:

  • The game starts in two minutes!

The game has obviously been planned, and arrangements have been made, so we could also say:

  • The game is starting in two minutes!
  • The game is going to start in two minutes!

For more information on Present Continuous for future, check my post: Future tenses – part one

For a detailed explanation of the many ways that Present Simple is used, including for future, click on the English Page website here.

Test yourself with these exercises on the Ego4you website here.

This entry was posted in Grammar, Intermediate (Level 4), Pre-Intermediate (Level 3) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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