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Unit 8 deals with the future tenses. The future tense has more than 4 aspects. Not only the future simple, future continuous, future perfect and future perfect continuous are used to talk about future meaning, but also ‘going to’ future, the present simple and present continuous.
1. The future simple.
Affirmative: subject + will + base form of verb (instead of will, shall can be used with I and we)
Negative: subject + will + not + base form of verb
Question: will + subject + base form of verb
Negative question: will + subject + not + base form of the verb
Note: Shall and shan’t are UK only
- Future facts and certainties
- Predictions, based on no present evidence
- Assumptions / Speculations
- Spontaneous decisions (not planned)
2. The future continuous
Affirmative: subject + will + be + verb+ing
Negative: subject + will + not + be + verb+ing
Question: will + subject + be + verb+ing
- To say something will be in progress at a particular time in the future.
- To ‘predict the present’ to say what we think or guess might be happening now.
- Polite inquiries referring to other people’s plans but not to influence the listener’s intentions.
- To refer to future events which are fixed or decided (without suggesting personal intention).
3. The future perfect
Affirmative: subject + will + have + past particle
Negative: subject + will + not + have + past particle
Question: will + subject + have + past particle
- To say that something will have been done, completed or achieved by a certain time in the future. We look back on the past from a future standpoint.
Note: Sentences with the future perfect generally use an adverbial expression that signals when a future event will be completed.
4. The future perfect continuous
Affirmative: subject + will + have + been + verb+ing
Negative: subject + will + not + have + been + verb+ing
Question: will + subject + have + been + verb+ing
- Used to say how long something will have continued in the future.
Note: the future perfect continuous often includes and adverbial expression that begins with ‘by’.
5. Be going + infinitive (‘going to’ future)
Affirmative: subject + verb to be in the present tense + going to + base form of verb
Negative: subject + verb to be in the present tense + not + going to + base form of verb
Question: verb to be in the present tense + subject + going to + base form of verb
Note: the structure looks similar to the present continues. However, the ‘be going to’ structure is always followed by a verb.
- Predictions based on present evidence
- Plans (decisions made before speaking)
6. The present simple with future meaning
- To suggest a more formal situation.
- For timetables & schedules.
- Suggest a more impersonal tone (often implying an outside compulsion)
7. The present continues with future meaning
- For definite arrangements
- For decisions and plans without a time frame
This last unit on the different tenses in the English language, proved just as useful as the previous two. I can now in easy wording explain the different tenses to my students. I can explain their form, usage, can identify and correct problems students might have with a particular structure and gained some good ideas on how to incorporate the tenses in the activate stage of a lesson.