What is simple future tense? And how does it function? What are the grammar rules that govern this verb tense? Learn everything you need to know about simple future in the comprehensive guide below.
What is the simple future tense?
The simple future tense describes an event or action that will occur in the future.
For example, Tony will go to school tomorrow.
Readers clearly understand that Tony has not yet attended school. ‘Tomorrow’ denotes the precise time in the future when Tony will attend school.
Are there any words that indicate that the given English statement is in the simple future tense? Luckily, yes.
In Tony’s example, the phrase ‘will go’ indicates that the statement is in the simple future tense.
We’ll look at more such words shortly.
What are the other tenses?
There are three tenses in the English language – past, present, and future.
These three tenses are further subdivided into four categories – Simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous.
The past tense, for instance, has four subcategories:
- Simple past tense
- Past continuous tense
- Past perfect tense
- Past perfect continuous tense
Similarly, the present tense has four subcategories:
- Simple present tense
- Present continuous tense
- Present perfect tense
- Present perfect continuous tense
And, the future tense has four subcategories:
- Simple future tense
- Future continuous tense
- Future perfect tense
- Future perfect continuous tense
Learning all the twelve tenses may seem overwhelming, but it’s easy. Every category of tense follows a pattern (there are a few exceptions though). To master your tenses, memorize and practice these patterns as much as possible.
|Present simple||Helps to describe habits, facts, actions, and truth that are not affected by time||Ist form of verb + s/es||He loves pizza.|
|Past simple||Helps to describe events that have happened in the past||IInd form of the verb||She wore a beautiful dress for the party.|
|Future simple||Helps to describe events that will happen in the future||Will/ shall + Ist form||He will go to New York tomorrow.|
|Present perfect||Helps to describe the relevance of past events in the present moment||Has/ have + IIIrd form of the verb||I have learned to ride a bike.|
|Past perfect||Helps to describe events that happened prior to other events in the past||Had + IIIrd form of the verb||She had finished the paper before leaving the hall.|
|Future perfect||Helps to describe events that will be completed between now and a specific point in the future||Will/ have + IIIrd form of the verb||She will have finished the book by tomorrow.|
|Present continuous||Helps to describe ongoing actions||Is/ am/ are + Ist form + ing||She is reading a book.|
|Past continuous||Helps to describe ongoing events of the past, mostly in relation to another event||Was/ were + Ist form + ing||He was driving to work when the accident happened.|
|Future continuous||Helps to describe future events that will/are expected to continue for a period of time||Will be + Ist form + ing||I will be going to meet my grandparents tomorrow.|
|Present perfect continuous||Helps to describe events that started in the past and will continue into the present||Has/ have been + Ist form + ing||She has been writing a book for the past one year.|
|Past perfect continuous||Helps to describe events that began, continued, and ended in the past||Had been + Ist form + ing||I had been working in this company for ten years when I got the promotion.|
|Future perfect continuous||Helps to describe events that began in the past but will continue until a point in the future||Will/ shall have been + Ist form + ing||I will have been doing business with her for one year.|
How is it different?
Now that you understand what the future tense is about, take a look at how it differs from the other two tenses—past tense and present tense.
The past tense refers to an event or action that has already occurred. This event or action can’t be undone.
For example, Tony went to school yesterday.
Readers clearly understand that Tony has already attended his school. ‘Yesterday’ denotes the precise time in the past when Tony attended his school. The phrase ‘went’ indicates that the statement is in the past tense.
The present tense refers to an event or action that is currently taking place. It also refers to a habitual action or event. An event or action happening in the present tense can be stopped or changed.
For example, Tony is going to school today.
The readers understand that Tony has not yet arrived at his school. Nor is he going to attend his school sometime in the future. Tony is on his way to school. The use of the phrase ‘is going’ indicates that the statement is in the present tense.
Though there is no definite rule, some words or phrases that identify future tense are:
- Will go
- In future
- A month later
- Days later
- Some time again
- The coming day
- The next day
- Next morning
- Next night
- The coming noon
- ahead (with reference to future time)
- Year 3023 (or any year after the current year)
- Would go
- Day after tomorrow
- A decade later
Here are some statements that indicate future tense:
- Joe will go to church tomorrow.
- Martin might miss his dentist appointment on Monday.
- Mom will go to the market.
- The day after tomorrow, we will have a celebration at Pheobe’s place.
- Ben will take the audition for the Scoopy Dog show against Mary.
Simple future forms
Use the simple future tense to describe events that have not yet begun. Follow the two structures listed below to construct a sentence in the simple future tense.
The structure including the word will to form a simple future form statement is:
Will + [verb in its root form]
To use the simple future tense in a sentence, follow the below formula:
Subject + assisting verb (will) + base form of the verb + rest of the sentence
To use the simple future tense to express negation, follow the below formula:
Subject + assisting verb (will) + not + base form of the verb + rest of the sentence
Note: The italicized text is the assisting verb (will) + base form of the verb
To represent events or actions that will occur in the near future
- Joey will eat a pizza for lunch.
- Robert will make a Christmas tree for his friend, Sheldon.
- Ruskin will not read a novel during the library hour.
- She will not dance at her friend’s engagement.
- Patrick will work all day to complete his assignment paper.
To speculate or forecast something or about someone in the future
- I’m wondering whether Liam will go to the magic show tonight.
- Oliver will look great in those blue jeans.
- According to the weather forecast, there will be a high tide of rain throughout the day.
- This year, she will be my Valentine.
- James will go with Harry to buy a wand at Oliver’s.
- Luna will bake a cake and eat it all by herself.
To make a statement about the future that is true
- The apartment will cost the Coopers a fortune.
- George will lead the football team to the championship game.
- Henry will write an essay about the environment of the school.
- Mary will cook turkey along with her father.
- Lucas will go to bed early tonight because he is exhausted from hours of boxing practice.
To inquire about something or someone who will be doing something in the future
- Will you be able to attend tomorrow’s math class?
- Will she be angry if she hears about the betrayal?
- Is Noah going to be the maid of honor at Samuel’s wedding?
To consider potential future consequences, conditions, or opportunities
- She will miss her art class if she doesn’t wake up early.
- She will not come to the funeral.
- Larry will come to the party if only his elder brother Tom drops him off at my house.
- Angelo will only attend the ball if Emma is his date.
To give orders or commands, as in imperative sentences
- At 12 p.m., you will turn in your passport documents. Clear?
- Ben’s lawyer advised: ‘You will need to keep all of your evidence handy before filing the case.’
- You will go to the church today. That’s an order.
The phrase ‘going to’ refers to an event or action that will take place in the near future.
To construct a simple future tense sentence with the expression ‘going to,’ use the structure: (auxiliary verb) be + going to + infinitive.
You can also use be as a main verb.
Another way to use the phrase ‘going to’ is: [am/is/are] + going to + [base form of the verb].
- She will be going to the market on Monday.
- Bradley will be going to revise the formulas before the test.
- Ross is going to buy an apartment for Edward.
How to use simple future tense
To express a voluntary action
Use ‘will’ to express a choice to perform an action or event.
In the form of a question or for a rhetorical statement, use ‘will’ to ask someone if they want to help or work for you.
- Will you do me a favor, please?
- I will make a sandwich right away.
To express a promise
Use ‘will’ to promise someone that you or someone else will complete a task.
- I will sail the seas and deliver you that painting.
- ‘I will always support you in difficult times,’ Nancy told Bill.
- Nancy will support Bill in his difficult times, always!
To express a plan
Use ‘going to’ to talk about the likelihood of something happening in the future.
- I am going to take a shower later tonight.
- Are you going to come over to my house for a game of monopoly?
Simple future grammar rules
No future in the time clauses
Future time clauses are dependent clauses. You will need an independent clause to complete the sentence.
But what are dependent and independent clauses?
A dependent clause is a group of words that includes a subject and a verb but does not form a complete sentence.
The independent clause is a complement to the dependent clause. It includes a predicate that describes what the subject does.
Use the future in the independent clause and the present tense in the dependent (time) clause to construct a sentence in the simple future tense.
I will feel relieved after I finish my article. (correct statement)
I will feel relieved after I will finish my article. (incorrect statement)
In the above example, the future time clause begins with the time word ‘after.’ So, you can’t use ‘will’ for that part of the sentence.
Put an adverb in any of the four positions in your simple future tense statement:
- at the start
- at the end
- before a verb
- after an auxiliary verb
It will hopefully be hot in the afternoon.
For the above statement, the adverb hopefully is placed before the verb be.
Active and passive voice
Use the following structure for writing an active voice statement in the simple future tense:
Subject + will/shall +base form of verb + object
Use the following structure for writing a passive voice statement in the simple future tense:
active sentence object + will/shall + be + past participle form of verb + by + active sentence subject
Active voice: Jennifer will sign the document.
Here, Jennifer is the subject, sign is the verb in its base form and the document is the object. Therefore, the passive voice for the same statement is as follows:
Passive voice: The document will be signed by Jennifer.
How does future simple tense work in Spanish?
To construct a simple future tense statement in, change the ending of the verb.
For example, ‘hablo’ in Spanish means I speak, ‘hablaré’ in Spanish means ‘I will speak’ or I shall ‘speak.’
Add the Spanish endings (-é, -ás, -á, -emos, -éis, -án) to the infinitive of regular (-ar, -er, and -ir ) verbs to form the simple future tense.
What is future simple conjugation?
Conjugation means changing the base verb form to align with a specific tense. If you don’t conjugate the verb, and leave it in its base form (at, walk, talk), the simple future tense won’t come across clearly.
For a simple future tense, conjugate the base verb by will, shall, will be, shall be, won’t be, shall not be, and am/is/are + going to.
For example, I will dance alone.
Here, the base verb dance is conjugated to form will dance to denote a simple future tense.
Future simple exercises for students
Identify the simple future tense in the examples below:
- Beth will read a book tonight.
- Mia is going to California this summer.
- Am I going to be a part of this book club?
- Will you be my Valentine?
- Chloe will build her own beauty brand.
Which of the following statements is correct in the simple future tense:
- Robert had a terrible headache yesterday.
- Bruno wrote a song about Mars.
- I will go for a morning walk tomorrow.
- I might not go to school on Monday.
- Paris will sleep till the afternoon if her mother doesn’t wake her up.
- Future Time Clauses
- How do you form the future tense in Spanish? – Easy Learning Grammar Spanish
- English Language Help Desk
- Simple Future Tense
- Future simple tense
- Simple Future Forms
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- Abstract Noun
- Accusative Case
- Active Sentence
- Adjective Clause
- Adjective Phrase
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- Appositive Phrase
- Compound Adjective
- Complex Sentence
- Compound Words
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- Common Noun
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