Future forms

Oliver and Alfie decide to enter a bike race.

Instructions

As you watch the video, look at the examples of future forms. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, future forms correctly.

Transcript

Daisy: Oliver’ll be back soon. Did he know you were coming?
Alfie: Yes, we spoke earlier. We’re going to do a bike race so we want to plan our training schedule.
Daisy: That sounds serious. When is it?
Alfie: In about a month. It’ll be hard, but we’re going to do loads of training – long-distance rides at weekends and shorter rides during the week.
Daisy: Wow! But you won’t be training every day, will you?
Alfie: That’s what we’re going to talk about now.
Daisy: In here. Want some tea? Do you want some, Alfie?
Alfie: Yeah, please. No sugar for me – I’m in training!
Oliver: Right. I’m just going to get a pen so we can write our plan down.
Daisy: Amy’s coming round. We’re going to watch a film – want to join us?
Oliver: Yeah, maybe..

(Later ...)
Oliver: What are you going to watch?
Daisy: We haven’t decided. Maybe the new Matt Damon one … or a romcom.
Alfie: If you choose the Matt Damon, I’ll stay, but I won’t if it’s the romantic one.
Oliver: What’s the Matt Damon one about?
Daisy: The Second World War.
Oliver: A war film! Oh no.
Amy: Come on, it’ll be good. It’s had great reviews.
Oliver: Ah, all right then.
Daisy: Mum’ll be phoning soon. Should we wait until after her call?
Amy: Good idea. Where is she?
Oliver: Egypt. In Alexandria, but she’s going south tomorrow. To Luxor, I think.
Amy: Isn’t she stopping in Cairo?
Daisy: I think so, yeah. How’s the planning?
Oliver: Ah, well. We’re not going to do the race! We won’t be ready. And Alfie wants to put sugar in his tea again!
Daisy: That’ll be Mum.
Oliver: I’ll get it.
Alfie: And we’ll get the popcorn ready, right Amy?
Amy: Let’s do it.

We have different ways of talking about the future. We often use going to (+ infinitive), the present continuous (to be + -ing) or will (+ infinitive). The structure we use depends on the function of what we want to say, whether we are talking about arrangements, plans, predictions, etc..

I thought will was the future tense in English.

It’s one of the ways of talking about the future, but there are a few others. Let’s look at will to start with. We use will / won’t (= will not) + the infinitive for predictions about the future.

Oliver’ll be back soon.
We won’t be ready.
Do you think it’ll rain this afternoon?

We also use will when we decide something at the moment of speaking.

(The doorbell rings) I’ll get it.

So, you sometimes use the verb think before will?

Yes, that’s very common. We also use: don’t think, expect, be + sure.

I’m sure you’ll have a good time.

You said will is used for decisions made at the moment of speaking. What about decisions made before the moment of speaking?

Then we can use either the present continuous or going to (+ infinitive).

Amy’s coming round.
We’re going to watch a film – want to join us?
What are you doing this evening?    

Is there a difference between them?

We use the present continuous more for arrangements with other people and be + going to + infinitive for intentions. Sometimes it’s important to choose the right structure, but often we could use either because many events are both arrangements and intentions.

Amy’s coming round. (= arrangement between Amy and Daisy)
Amy’s going to come round. (= Amy’s intention)
I’m going to clean my room tonight. (= intention)
I’m cleaning my room tonight. (not an arrangement)

So could I say 'I’m going to go to the cinema with Alex'?

Yes, that’s correct. But we usually avoid saying going to go, just because it doesn’t sound very elegant. We normally use the present continuous with go.

I’m going to the cinema with Alex.

And 'I will go to the cinema with Alex'?

No. We don’t use will for arrangements or intentions if the decision was made before the moment of speaking.

Oh, yes, you told me that before. Anything else?

Yes, there’s another use of going to. We use it for predictions too, especially when you can see something happening or about to happen.

Look out! You’re going to spill that coffee.

Can you use going to for other predictions?

Yes, sometimes both will and going to can be used.

I think the Green Party will win the election.
I think the Green Party are going to win the election.

OK, and one last thing! Is it correct to say, ‘When’s the race?’ That’s present simple, isn’t it?

Yes. You can use present simple for timetabled events.

My plane leaves at 4pm tomorrow.
The match starts at 8pm.

Phew! So sometimes you can use going to or the present continuous and sometimes you can use will or going to. And you can also use present simple for timetabled events. I’ll never understand the future!

Discussion

What are your plans for this weekend?

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Comments

Submitted by rebbit2009 on Tue, 07/26/2022 - 08:28

I am going to study, read the books, draw and just relax ^.^
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Submitted by Nayelli_Villalpando on Fri, 03/25/2022 - 22:04

My plans for the weekend will be to finish all my tasks and projects that I have pending, and to party and go to a concert with my friends.
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Submitted by Evelyn_Rosario on Fri, 03/25/2022 - 05:30

My plans this week are to finish all my projects, deliver them in a timely manner, start studying for the two exams that I will do for the period and on Saturday to watch a movie with my family and eat popcorn or some button.
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Submitted by Daniela_Vazquez on Thu, 03/24/2022 - 09:20

My plans for this weekend are: Attend my jazz class and go to a friend's XV years party.

Submitted by student53 on Sun, 02/06/2022 - 07:25

I plan to study, play computer games, and go visit a friend.
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Submitted by Mar on Wed, 10/20/2021 - 21:30

I plan to study, read, watch tv and movies, wash clothes and clean and my room.

Submitted by Froggy999 on Wed, 09/22/2021 - 14:15

I plan to declutter my store room and redecorate my bedroom this weekend.

Submitted by strawberry123_ on Wed, 08/11/2021 - 09:47

I am going to have birthday this weekend, but I don`t think it`ll be fine. I have so many things to do that day, that I think I won`t have time to celebrate it((

Submitted by Mamou1 on Thu, 07/15/2021 - 09:22

What are your plans for this weekend? This wekkend I'm going to visit my aunt and spend time with her and my nephew. So we will probably going to the pool, do some sports, and cook. What is sure i'm going to enjoy it .

Submitted by summer78 on Fri, 07/09/2021 - 01:09

I'm going to finished my school homeworks tomorrow. And in weekend, i'm going to watch some movie or serie.
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Submitted by Cfvdv on Thu, 04/01/2021 - 15:48

My plans for this weekend is a barbecue with my family, i am going to the pool with my bothers too, and let my dogs walk into the garden. At night I will watch a movie with the hole family. So, because of the pandemic we cannot go out of our house...

Submitted by Arivelde on Mon, 03/29/2021 - 19:13

I don't really like to do plans for the weekends, because it is when I do not have any obligations, I just let it teke me whereever it goes. But one thing is for sure, I can sleep a lot, and there is no problem with that, because it's weekend! But I also sometimes watch films, play outside with my brothers and dogs, play football, vidiogames.... all of that depending on my mood, sometimes I am too lazy or too agitaded.... so I don't really know what is going to happend, it's a mistery.
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Submitted by Cecilia28 on Sat, 03/27/2021 - 01:50

I am going to celebrate my mother's birthday, maybe we will go to eat in the city and I will buy her a gift.

Submitted by Didik on Mon, 03/22/2021 - 21:47

I don't have any big plans for this weekend, but I'd like to have some barbecue. This is the only thing I can do now with the lokdown in my country.
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Submitted by Kostantinus on Wed, 01/27/2021 - 08:48

In the morning I'm meeting with my girlfriend and we are going go shopping. After that we were planning to play some computer games and watch anime, she likes it a lot. By the way, she is going to teach me how to cook ginger cookies, she is really good at it. After my tummy will be full of her yummy cookies I am going to help her with her Chinese. She is having a test next week so it's very important to be prepared well. In the evening we are going to watch her favourite horror movie. I am a little bit scared, but I want she'll be happy, so I agreed with that idea)) These weekend I don't have to help my parents tidy up our house. I'll do it on Friday evening after school.
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Submitted by Andrii on Wed, 11/04/2020 - 19:04

I think I'm going to do my homework, tidy my room and play computer game. Maybe, I'll also meet my friend.

Submitted by paradise_2006 on Fri, 09/04/2020 - 19:25

I don't have any big plans for this weekend, though I'm planing to clean my cupboard coz it's awfully messed-up. >.

Submitted by Barking06 on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 00:41

I'll play some game or do some homework.

Submitted by sofka on Thu, 04/30/2020 - 18:12

this weekend I will play and procrastinate all day and draw on the computer

Submitted by bea_mara on Sun, 04/05/2020 - 21:10

This weekend I'm going to watch a movie at the tv and make a cake with my mum.

Submitted by NewZealand2016 on Sun, 04/05/2020 - 09:41

I will stay at home this weekend

Submitted by Ely on Fri, 04/03/2020 - 07:38

for his weekend i haven't got a plan, because i'm in the quarantine.

Submitted by BttChiara on Thu, 04/02/2020 - 19:59

This weekend I'm going to stay at home and I'm going to do all my homework(I have to stay at home because of quarantine... It's really sad!):"(

Submitted by MatildePace on Thu, 04/02/2020 - 14:49

I have no big plans for this weekend because I will be at home in quarantine. I think I will sleep, do my homework and be with my family.

Submitted by Desy on Wed, 04/01/2020 - 12:53

For this weekend I haven't got any plans, because I'm in the quarantine for the Corona Virus and I can't go out.

Submitted by gattifederica on Tue, 03/31/2020 - 19:41

This weekend I’m staying at home because of the Coronavirus. I’m studying, do my homework, watching films and TV series and cooking a chocolate cake. I’m chatting with my friends, I listening to music and reading a book. Absolutely, I’m tidying my room because it’s untidy.

Submitted by vittoriadigianno on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 12:53

I think i will stay at home and make a cake

Submitted by caromoreira04 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:59

I don't have any big plans for this weekens. I'm going to make some cakes and watch some tv series. I hope I'll finish reading the book.

Submitted by gio_cra2004 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:48

In this period you cannot go out because there is an emergency, so on the weekend I will help my mother to make the cake for father's birthday who turns fifty years.

Submitted by Beavolga03 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:44

This weekend i’m going to stay at home and i’ll relax

Submitted by ftrifi227 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:41

I don't have a plan for this weekend because i'm in quarantine for the Corona Virus, who unfortunately hit Italy. So i think i will stay at home and i will play at playstation.

Submitted by chiarusso on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:29

in italy right now we are in quarantine, so i will stay home and watch netflix.

Submitted by alaricofranca02 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:52

I think I will help my father make pizza and chocolate cake.

Submitted by anna_v3r on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 12:12

In this period we are in quarantine so I'll cook something for my family, like a cake or biscuits and then I'll help my mother with chores.

Submitted by mmatildepontoni04 on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 11:17

I’m planning to just take it easy. This weekend i think I will do some homework

Submitted by languagelearner on Thu, 03/12/2020 - 06:01

I will help my mom

Submitted by Lucrecampa on Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:59

I' will tidy up my room ... but i don ‘ t know

In reply to by languagelearner

Submitted by myriam on Sun, 11/24/2019 - 04:05

I will visit my family because my grandparents live far away and I have not seen for a long time. We are going to walk in the park and we are going to eat ice cream.
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Submitted by empty on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 10:12

I don't know . maybe playing with my little sister .

Submitted by maxamulet1000 on Thu, 05/09/2019 - 13:57

I have a plan for this weekend. I am going to sports field to play football with my uncle.

Submitted by KasiaAmulet1000 on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:29

I will relax on the phone, i will play game and I will go out with friend. Maybe I will go swimming.

Submitted by AnnAmulet1000 on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 09:29

I will ride motorbike in the forest and I will drive to my aunt with my family. I will meet my friends. Maybe I will bake cake.
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Submitted by Youjiro on Sat, 02/02/2019 - 10:18

I will tell one of my friend with Skype. some of my friend live in another prifecture to learn good education.I keep in touch regularly ,Nowadays We talk about learning English ,because We have got low score in previous exam. Nowadays I use British council every day. Additionally I'll watch football game in my room.football is passionate sports .I regularly watch premier league every weekend. Watching football in my room is like a supporter.I have never go to football stadium, because There are so many supporter and loud voice.It is not comfortable.

Submitted by Grani2222 on Thu, 11/22/2018 - 21:35

I've some plans for the weekend. I'm going to meet my friend and we're going to trampolines park. I'm going to go for a walk with my second friend or maybe we'll drink a coffe or something. On Sunday this time I'll have done my math presentation or my English essay. I'm doing pizza with my BF and friends on Sunday evening.
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Submitted by Batgirl on Wed, 06/27/2018 - 15:21

I don't have any plans for the weekend. I'm just going to relax and watch some movies.

Submitted by smartgirl1 on Sun, 04/08/2018 - 16:39

+++++++++TRAVELLING to the MOON++++++

Submitted by Raissa on Tue, 03/20/2018 - 18:48

I'm going to meet a friend and I think I'll go to my hairstylist.

Submitted by khan (not verified) on Mon, 09/14/2015 - 16:17

I am planning to stay at home for my exams.I am going to pick up my brother from school later.
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