Future: WILL


 In English, there are many ways to talk about the future, so I’ll split it up into various articles.

 You never really know what the future holds, so there are different ways to talk about plans, timetables, predictions and so on. Consider:

  • We’re going to travel to York in February. → a plan/intention.
  • I’m meeting Katie for lunch tomorrow. → a date, or “future arrangement”.
  • If you study and behave, you will pass. → a prediction.
  • The plane leaves in two hours’ time. → a timetable.

 Sometimes, different ways of seeing the future overlap: are you talking about a plan, or a future arrangement? The good news is that very often there’s more than one ‘correct’ option. The bad news is, it can be confusing.

The Future with WILL

The future with WILL is sometimes called “the” future tense, or “Future Simple”. The picture shows how to make it.


  • Predictions:
    • In ten years’ time, most cars will be electric.
    • I won’t finish this article today.
    • Will she pass the term?
  • Promises, Threats, and Offers:
    • I’ll help you if you want. → an offer
    • Will you marry me? → (asking for) a promise
    • I’ll sue you over this! → a threat
    • I won’t do this, no way! → a refusal (a promise not to)
  • Spontaneous Decisions:
    • I think I’ll have another coffee.
  • General Future”:
    • In chapter three, we will/shall discuss the implications for fluid dynamics.


  • WILL is a modal verb, so it is unchangeable (no -s in Third Person Singular…). You cannot combine it with other modal verbs, and it always has to be the first verb in the clause, the “Operator” (the “A” in “Las preguntas se hacen ASI”.)
  • In British English, we often use SHALL as a first-person form of WILL (“We shall now discuss the next point on today’s agenda, …”). It’s a bit more formal.

How to Make Sentences in the Future with WILL

Remember the basic sentence structure in English:

Affirmative: Subject + Verb + Rest.

Negation: Subject + Auxiliary + not + “Infinitive” + Rest.


  1. Non-Subject: (WH) + Auxiliary + Subject + “Infinitive” + Rest?
  2. Subject: WH + Verb + Rest?

This gives us:

Affirmative: Subject + [will] [Infinitive] + Rest.

Negation: Subject + [will] + not + [Infinitive] + Rest.


  1. Non-Subject: (WH) + [will] + Subject + [Infinitive] + Rest?
  2. Subject: WH + [will] [Infinitive] + Rest?

WILL versus BE Going to

 Sometimes, both forms can be used. But usually you should use either one or the other. The table shows when to use which.

Other Uses of WILL

You can also use WILL for orders:

  • “Will you shut the door!”

The future with WILL can express predictions about the present: things you think are true but don’t really know for sure:

  • Sarah doesn’t pick up the phone. She’ll be at work.

Finally, WILL is the auxiliary for complex futures: Future Continuous (she’ll be driving), Future Perfect (she’ll have driven), and Future Perfect Continuous (she’ll have been driving).

Futures” at http://joscha.x10host.com  

Future Simple at Agendaweb.org

WILL or BE going to at Agendaweb.org

Future with will interrogative from Cynthia García

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