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Simple future is a tense that talks about the future. It is how we speak about things that have not yet happened. Simple future contains the word “will” to refer to something that has not yet taken place, and that is expected to happen. 

Next year, Sarah will go to college. 

You use the simple future to talk about a specified action that is expected to take place in the future. Simple future has distinct words that indicate that you are using simple future. “Will” is the main indicator word and appears in most phrases that discuss future plans. Simple future may also contain the verb phrase “be going to.”  Sometimes these can be used together and sometimes they are used independently. Both the word  “will” and the phrase “be going to” express specified times that indicate that they are meant for future use. This will help the reader understand what the intent of the sentence is indicating. 

In general, it is the “be going to” construction that is more commonly found in everyday speech. It is also a form that is commonly found in more informal writing.
As “be going to” is more informal or casual, to keep with more formal writing, the “will“ phrases are a better bet whenever the situation calls for more formal styles of writing or speeches.

Examples: 

You will see her later.

Will you see her later?

You will not see her later.

 

You are going to run tonight.

Are you going to run tonight?

You are not going to run tonight. 


We use the simple future tense when we talk about actions that we plan to do in the future. The simple future refers to a time that is later than now. It talks about that time in the future in a way that expresses facts and expresses what the expected outcome of the future event will be. It is not a way of expressing the possibility of future events it is more used to express events that we have some level of certainty that will happen. 

Example: 

The sun will rise in the morning. (This is a very certain fact.) 

Vs. 

We may go to the store tomorrow. (This is more of a possibility it is not certain.)

To Form the Simple Future Tense: 

To form the simple future is will + (verb). 

I will go to the store. She will eat lunch. He will give a speech. Cathy will travel to New York. You will eat all your food. We will solve this problem. 

Whether the subject of the sentence is singular or plural does not matter in this formation. Will +(verb) expresses the simple future. “We will go to the store” (plural) is the same formation as “I will go to the store” (singular). For the “will” formation, there is no difference in the way it is formed. 

Statement Question Negative
I will jump. Will I jump? I will not jump.
You will jump. Will you jump? You will not jump.
She will jump. Will she jump? She will not jump.
He will jump. Will he jump? He will not jump.
They will jump. Will they jump? They will not jump.
We will jump. Will we jump? We will not jump.
It will jump. Will it jump? It will not jump.

However, it is a different way to express that something will happen in simple present and one (be going to) does change slightly with singular and plurals.  

Statement Negative
I am going to run. I am not going to jump.
You are going to jump. You are not going to jump.
She is going to jump. She is not going to jump.
He is going to jump. He is not going to jump.
They are going to jump. They are not going to jump.
We are going to jump. We are not going to jump.
It is going to jump. It is not going to jump.

So the “be” verb in the simple future follows the same patterns as the simple present. The continuous action verb “going” does not change. 

Examples: 

I am going to go to the store. Lily is going to eat candy. My sisters are going to go to the movie theater. You are going to get the mail.

When To Use the Simple Future Tense

There are several uses for the simple future tense. Use the “will” to indicate voluntary predicted actions, to indicate some sort of plan, to indicate predictions, and to indicate a promise.

Use “Will” to Indicate Voluntary Predicted Actions

Use “will” to express voluntary actions that you intend to do in the future. You also use the negative form “won’t” when you will not voluntarily do something. This is similar to promising or planning but can also indicate preferences and hopes. 

Examples include:

Example: Explanation:
I won’t make a mess.     I’m not going to voluntarily make a mess. 
We will go to my mom’s house. Going to mom’s house is not a requirement.
He will eat his dessert.  He will voluntarily eat this food.
When you go to the store? Asking if you will go voluntarily.
Will the dog come back? Asking if it will come back voluntarily. 

To Indicate a Promise

Using “will” you can also indicate a hope, a promise that you hope to do or accomplish. You use will to indicate that you are promising to do something in the future. Or the negative I’ve form can be used to promise not to do something in the future. You can also use this phrase to obtain a promise from someone else. 

Example: Explanation:
I won’t tell your secret.     I promise not to tell. 
I’ll be careful. I promise to be careful.
I’ll eat my food. I promise to eat my food.
Will you make sure she eats? Asking if you will promise to help.
I’ll find your dog! Promising to help. 

To State Some Sort of a Plan

The simple future tense can be used to state plans that we intend to fulfill. Plans use either “will” and “be going to” they also indicate that the action is voluntary. The indicate plans that have been made to be fulfilled in the future in which the planner is doing an action that will be voluntarily fulfilled. 

Example: Explanation:
I am going to go to Hawaii for a vacation.  I’m planning on going to Hawaii. 
We will go to my mom’s house. I’m planning to go to my mom’s house.
He is going to eat his dessert.  He is planning to voluntarily eat this food.
When are you going to the store? Asking if you are planning to go to the store.
Is Fred going to come back? Asking if he is planning to come back voluntarily. 

To Describe a Prediction

Use both “will and “be going to” to indicate a prediction that you think will happen in the future. Or to ask about a prediction that someone has made. There are many different ways to make a prediction and the predictions can be either formal or informal, so it doesn’t matter if you use “will” or “be going to” both can be used somewhat interchangeably in this case. 

Example: Explanation:
The year 2021 will be a good year.  I’m predicting the year 2021 will be a good year. 
She will be careful. Predicting future actions.
We are going to go to Hawaii next year.  Predicting what we will do.
Will the store be closing soon? Asking for a prediction about hours. 
What will the future look like? Asking for a prediction. 

A Note about Intent

It’s good to note that you don’t always know what intent the speaker may have. Many of these uses may overlap and sound similar. The predictions may be a prediction, a promise, or a plan, and the phrasing can all be very similar.

It is not always clear which meaning the speaker has at the beginning of the sentence. This is not a problem, it doesn’t change the meaning or the indications of the tense at all and the tense doesn’t change despite what the speaker may indicate or not.

A Note on Using the Simple Future Tense:

You do not use time indicator words such as “when” or “while” in the simple future tenses. They would not make sense. “When you will go to the store” Instead use either simple present “When you go to the store.” or simple future “You will go to the store” but they cannot be used together in the same sentence.  

Simple future is a fairly easy tense to master. It does take some effort to remember which phrases can and can not be used together, but it is a fairly simple tense to remember and use in both formal and informal speech. 

 

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