The Future Tenses
The future tense of verbs expresses events or actions that have not yet happened and that will happen at some point in the future.
The future is also formed with the use of a form of “go” plus the infinitive of the verb:
- He is going to faint.
English can even use the present to suggest the future tense:
- I am leaving later today.”
Simple Future Tense
- It is also used to denote facts or events of certainty
- It is used to give a warning or take a spontaneous decision
- To express readiness
- Make an offer or suggestion using ‘shall’
- To give an invitation or an order to someone
It can be used in affirmative, interrogative and negative sentences. Both ‘shall’ and ‘will’ can be used in simple future tense sentences, but modern English uses ‘Will’ rather than ‘shall’.
Examples: I’ll prepare dinner.
Why won’t you tell her the truth?
It will rain tomorrow.
To form the simple future:
- Subject + will + base form of verb
- The investment of as much as $250 million will go to a hedge fund launched by Boston investment firm Quantopian. That fund provides money to do-it-yourself traders who come up with the best computerized investing methods, giving a share of any profits to the creators. –The Wall Street Journal
The simple future is used to express:
- promises, predictions
- It will rain tomorrow.
- She will leave soon.
- We shall overcome.
- habits, routine
- The alarm will sound when you open the door.
- The meeting starts at noon.
The construction form of to be + infinitive is used to convey a sense of planning for the future, command, or contingency.
- There is to be an investigation into the mayor’s business affairs.
- You are to be back on the base by midnight.
- If he is to pass this exam, he’ll have to study harder.
To create a sense of imminent fulfillment, the word about can be combined with the infinitive.
- He is about to die.
Other adverbs can be used in similar constructions with various effects:
- He is liable to get in trouble.
- She is certain to do well in college.
How to Make the Simple Future Negative
To make the simple future negative, the formula is will + not + [root form].
Using the “going to” construction, the formula is [am/is/are] + not + going to + [root form].
Note: that the auxiliary will can be combined with “be” and a progressive form of the main verb to create a sense of the future that does not harbor any hint of insistence (which is possible with the auxiliary alone). For instance, if stress is placed on the word will in “When will you arrive?”, the sentence can sound impatient, insistent. In “When will you be arriving?” there is less of that emotional overtone.
The Future Perfect Tense
The future perfect tense is a bit complicated as compared to the two the other future tense types. It is used to refer to an action which will have been completed at some time in the future.
The future perfect is composed of two elements: the simple future of the verb “to have” (will have) + the past participle of the main verb. It can be used in the affirmative, negative and affirmative and negative of interrogative sentences.
Examples: By the time you get this letter, I will have left.
She will have arrived by lunch.
Won’t they have joined us by 7 pm?
To form the future perfect:
- Subject + will have + past participle of verb
The future perfect is used to express:
- actions that will be finished at some point
- By the time you arrive, we will have eaten dinner.
- actions that will be finished before another future event
- They will have lived in their new home for two years this fall.