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Talking about the Future

Talking about the Future
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Activity Drag&Drop
Complete the sentences using the best verb form to talk ABOUT THE FUTURE in that particular context.

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Click on the words at the bottom and drag them into the empty boxes of the sentence to complete it.

In English we can talk about the future using different tenses and auxiliaries. Many students think that we use WILL to form the future tense, but grammarians often say there is no “future tense”, only “ways of expressing future". Most times we talk about the future we do not use WILL, and many of the times we use WILL we are not talking about the future.


Plans are the kind of things we write in our agenda, how we are going to organize our future. When talking about plans, we use the Present Continuous. Since this tense is mostly used to talk about things that are happening now, to make clear we are talking about the future and not the present, we must use a future time expression to say when that thing is going to happen (or we already know from the context).

-    I am playing tennis (present: this is what I am doing now)
-    I am playing tennis tomorrow morning (future: this is what I am going to do tomorrow morning)

More examples:
-    I can’t go with you tomorrow, I’m helping dad in the garden
-    She’s coming home next week
-    I’m starting university next year

But we can also use the form Be Going To (there is no difference):
-    I’m going to help dad in the garden
-    She’s going to have a baby in two months
-    Are you going to stay here or are you coming with me?
(both forms mixed) 


When talking about timetables, programmes or similar (for example: public transport, cinema times, classes, etc.) we use the Simple Present tense:

-    My new course starts on Monday
-    The train to Paris leaves at 5.30
-    The shops open at 9.00


We use WILL (negative: WON'T /wəʊnt/) when we decide to do something at the moment of speaking: We make a decision, and at that very moment we say it:

-    Your phone's ringing! - Ok, I'll take it, but where is it?
-    Somebody knocked on the door. I’ll see who it is
-    Oh, sorry, I dropped all the soup. Don’t worry, I’ll clean it

But if the decision was made in the past, then we can’t use “will”, we must use “Be Going To”:

-    I can’t go with you because I’m going to play tennis with Kevin
-    I bought these boots because I’m going to climb the Everest with grandpa
-    She's going to plant some trees in her garden, I think you should go and help her

Decisions and plans are often the same thing (if you have a plan you probably have made a decision before) so don't worry about the difference, they both are used with Going To, so no problem:

-    I'm going to play tennis with John tomorrow  (this is a decision made in the past and also a plan)


We use the form Be Going To when we predict the future based on evidence, objective facts.

In this case there is something in the present telling us what is going to happen in the future, so this kind of prediction is really a deduction (sometimes a very clever deduction, sometimes just common sense)

-    Those clouds are so dark, I think it’s going to rain soon
-    I’m worried about this crack on the wall, this is going to be a problem

But other times, when we talk about the future, we are not making a deduction, we are really making a subjective prediction based on our intuition or in what we know, believe or imagine.

-    If you go to England take an umbrella, it will probably rain every day
-    Don’t worry about the wedding, it will be fine, you’ll look great
-    This kid will be someone important when he grows up


Gapped text Items
Next week we ______________________ London go / are going to / will go
I'm tired, so tonight I ______________________ home watching TV. I already told my friends. stay / will stay / 'm going to stay
Next Saturday I ______________________ with my friends to the cinema am going / go / will go
She needs help because she ______________________ paint her new house is going to / will
I'm going to say goodbye, because tomorrow she ______________________ will leave / is leaving / leaves
She needs help because she ______________________ her new house tomorrow paints / will paint / is painting
I don't need a hotel in Salamanca because I ______________________ stay with my brother will / am going to
In New York, we ______________________ visit the Statue of Liberty will / are going to
I can't go, I ______________________ mum will help / 'm going to help
I can't go, I ______________________ mum this afternoon will help / 'm helping
Trains for London ______________________ at 10 will leave / are leavning / leave / are going to leave
The next train ______________________ at 9:45 will leave / is leaving / is going to leave / leaves
Classes ______________________ at 9 in the morning start / are starting / will start
The new TV series ______________________ in May begins / is beginning / will begin
In my hotel, breakfast ______________________ at 10 finishes / will finish / is finishing
The shops ______________________ at 9:30 will open / open / are opening
- Whos' at the door? - I don't know, I ______________________ and see 'll go / 'm going / 'm going to go
I wanted to sit there, but it's ok, I ______________________ here instead will sit / am sitting / 'm going to sit
Oh no, you can't go out in that horrible dress! Wait, I ______________________ you my green dress for the party. am giving / will give / am going to give / give
Is it too heavy? Ok, Tom ______________________ it. Hey, Tom! come here and take this. is taking / will take / is going to take
Is it all wrong? Ok, I ______________________ it again, don't worry 'm going to do / will do
I'm nervous because I ______________________ open my presents 'm going to / will
I came here because I ______________________ tell her everything will / am going to
I told you, I ______________________ with you today, I've got many things to do won't stay / 'm not going to stay
Wow, you look very pretty this evening. ______________________ have an appointment? Are you going to / will you
What's that? It's too heavy for you. I'______________________ help you. m going to / ll
We came by car because then we' ______________________ visit my aunt in Canford Heath ll / re going to
I know that she'______________________ leave him because she told me ll / s going to
Take an umbrella, it's very cloudy. I think it' ______________________ rain ll / s going to
That cliff looks dangerous. One of these days it ______________________ fall down and kill someone. is going to / will
That box is too small. It ______________________ be enough for all the apples. won't / isn't going to
Look at her face, I think she ______________________ start crying in a minute is going to / will
Little Timmy is very intelligent, I think he ______________________ always get top marks even at university will / is going to
Don't go to that meeting. It ______________________ be boring, as usual. is going to / will
I know her well. If you don't do what she wants, she ______________________ get very angry. is going to / will
Total number of items: 35

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