Classroom English-Grammar-Simple Future

English Simple Future


The simple future refers to a time later than now, and expresses facts or certainty. In this case there is no ‘attitude’. The simple future is used:
  • To predict a future event: It will rain tomorrow.
  • With I or We, to express a spontaneous decision: I’ll pay for the tickets by credit card.
  • To express willingness: I’ll do the washing-up. He’ll carry your bag for you.
  • In the negative form, to express unwillingness: The baby won’t eat his soup. I won’t leave until I’ve seen the manager!
  • With I in the interrogative form using “shall”, to make an offer: Shall I open the window?
  • With we in the interrogative form using “shall”, to make a suggestion: Shall we go to the cinema tonight?
  • With I in the interrogative form using “shall”, to ask for advice or instructions: What shall I tell the boss about this money?
  • With you, to give orders: You will do exactly as I say.
  • With you in the interrogative form, to give an invitation: Will you come to the dance with me? Will you marry me?
Note:In modern English will is preferred to shall. Shall is mainly used with I and we to make an offer or suggestion, or to ask for advice (see examples above). With the other persons (you, he, she, they) shall is only used in literary or poetic situations, e.g. “With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes.”


The simple future tense is composed of two parts: will / shall + the infinitive without to
Subject will infinitive without to
I will go
I shall go
They will not see
They won’t see
Will she ask?
Interrogative negative
Won’t they try?
I will = I’ll We will = we’ll You will = you’ll He will = he’ll She will = she’ll They will = they’ll Will not = won’t The form “it will” is not normally shortened.


Affirmative Negative Interrogative Interrogative Negative
I will see I won’t see Will I see? Won’t I see?
*I shall see *Shall I see?
You will see You won’t see Will you see? Won’t you see?
He will see He won’t see Will he see? Won’t he see?
We will see We won’t see Will we see? Won’t we see?
*We shall see *Shall we see?
They will see They won’t see Will they see? Won’t they see?
*Shall is dated, but it is still commonly used instead of “will” with the affirmative or interrogative forms of I and we in certain cases (see above). Simple Future has two different forms in English: “will” and “be going to.” Although the two forms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often express two very different meanings. These different meanings might seem too abstract at first, but with time and practice, the differences will become clear. Both “will” and “be going to” refer to a specific time in the future.


[will + verb]
  • You will help him later.
  • Will you help him later?
  • You will not help him later.

FORM Be Going To

[am/is/are + going to + verb]
  • You are going to meet Jane tonight.
  • Are you going to meet Jane tonight?
  • You are not going to meet Jane tonight.

USE 1 “Will” to Express a Voluntary Action

“Will” often suggests that a speaker will do something voluntarily. A voluntary action is one the speaker offers to do for someone else. Often, we use “will” to respond to someone else’s complaint or request for help. We also use “will” when we request that someone help us or volunteer to do something for us. Similarly, we use “will not” or “won’t” when we refuse to voluntarily do something.
  • I will send you the information when I get it.
  • I will translate the email, so Mr. Smith can read it.
  • Will you help me move this heavy table?
  • Will you make dinner?
  • I will not do your homework for you.
  • I won’t do all the housework myself!
  • A: I’m really hungry. B: I‘ll make some sandwiches.
  • A: I’m so tired. I’m about to fall asleep. B: I‘ll get you some coffee.
  • A: The phone is ringing. B: I‘ll get it.

USE 2 “Will” to Express a Promise

“Will” is usually used in promises.
  • I will call you when I arrive.
  • If I am elected President of the United States, I will make sure everyone has access to inexpensive health insurance.
  • I promise I will not tell him about the surprise party.
  • Don’t worry, I‘ll be careful.
  • I won’t tell anyone your secret.

USE 3 “Be going to” to Express a Plan

“Be going to” expresses that something is a plan. It expresses the idea that a person intends to do something in the future. It does not matter whether the plan is realistic or not.
  • He is going to spend his vacation in Hawaii.
  • She is not going to spend her vacation in Hawaii.
  • A: When are we going to meet each other tonight? B: We are going to meet at 6 PM.
  • I‘m going to be an actor when I grow up.
  • Michelle is going to begin medical school next year.
  • They are going to drive all the way to Alaska.
  • Who are you going to invite to the party?
  • A: Who is going to make John’s birthday cake? B: Sue is going to make John’s birthday cake.

USE 4 “Will” or “Be Going to” to Express a Prediction

Both “will” and “be going to” can express the idea of a general prediction about the future. Predictions are guesses about what might happen in the future. In “prediction” sentences, the subject usually has little control over the future and therefore USES 1-3 do not apply. In the following examples, there is no difference in meaning.
  • The year 2222 will be a very interesting year.
  • The year 2222 is going to be a very interesting year.
  • John Smith will be the next President.
  • John Smith is going to be the next President.
  • The movie “Zenith” will win several Academy Awards.
  • The movie “Zenith” is going to win several Academy Awards.


In the Simple Future, it is not always clear which USE the speaker has in mind. Often, there is more than one way to interpret a sentence’s meaning.

No Future in Time Clauses

Like all future forms, the Simple Future cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Simple Future, Simple Present is used.
  • When you will arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Not Correct
  • When you arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Correct


The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.
  • You will never help him.
  • Will you ever help him?
  • You are never going to meet Jane.
  • Are you ever going to meet Jane?


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