The Simple Future tense is used to express non-continuous actions which will take place in the future. In the following examples, the verbs in the Simple Future tense are underlined.
e.g. They will finish
the work tomorrow.
We will go back
to school next Saturday.b. Formation
The Simple Future of any verb is formed from the auxiliary will
, followed by the bare infinitive of the verb.
In informal English, particularly in American English, the Simple Future is usually conjugated entirely with the auxiliary will
. The auxiliary will
is a modal
auxiliary. Modal auxiliaries do not modify, but have the same form, regardless of the subject.
The auxiliary will
is often contracted to 'll
. Thus, in informal English, the Simple Future of the verb to work
is usually conjugated as follows:
|Without Contractions||With Contractions|
| I will work|| I'll work|
| you will work|| you'll work|
| he will work|| he'll work|
| she will work|| she'll work|
| it will work || it'll work|
| we will work|| we'll work|
| they will work|| they'll work|
Verbs used with the subjects I
are generally referred to as being in the first person
; verbs used with the subject you
are generally referred to as being in the second person
; and verbs used with the subjects he
are generally referred to as being in the third person
For formal English, there is a rule which states that in the Simple Future, the auxiliary shall
should be used in the first person, and the auxiliary will
should be used in the second person and third person. Like the auxiliary will
, the auxiliary shall
is a modal auxiliary.
Thus, in formal English, the Simple Future of the verb to work
may be conjugated as follows:
| I shall work|
| you will work|
| he will work|
| she will work|
| it will work|
| we shall work|
| they will work|
Even in informal English, the auxiliary shall
is usually used in the first person for questions in which a request for permission is implied.
the office? Shall
to the library?
However, the use of will
for the first person of the Simple Future is beginning to be considered acceptable in formal English. Thus, except for questions where a request for permission is implied, either will
may be used for the first person of the Simple Future. In this chapter, the alternative use of the auxiliary shall
in the first person will be indicated by the word shall
The rules for the use of will
which apply to the Simple Future tense, also apply to the other future tenses. c. Questions and negative statements
As is the case with other English tenses, questions and negative statements in the Simple Future are formed using the auxiliary.
Questions are formed by placing the auxiliary before the subject. For example:
| It will work.|| Will it work?|
| They will work.|| Will they work?|
Negative statements are formed by placing the word not
after the auxiliary. For example:
|Affirmative Statement||Negative Statement|
| It will work.|| It will not work.|
| They will work.|| They will not work.|
In spoken English, the following contraction is often used:
|Without Contraction||With Contraction|
| will not|| won't|
The contracted form of will not
is unusual, since it is not only the o
which is omitted. In addition, the ll
is omitted, and the i
is changed to o
. The contracted form, won't
, is pronounced to rhyme with don't
In addition, shall not
is sometimes contracted to shan't
. However, the word shan't
is rarely used in modern American English.
Negative questions are formed by placing the auxiliary before the subject, and the word not
after the subject. However, when contractions are used, the contracted form of not
immediately follows the auxiliary. The following are examples of negative questions with and without contractions:
|Without Contractions||With Contractions|
| Will it not work?|| Won't it work?|
| Will they not work?|| Won't they work?|
Tag questions are formed using the auxiliary. In the following examples, the negative tag questions are underlined. Contractions are usually used in negative tag questions.
2. The conjugation expressing determination and compulsion
|Affirmative Statement||Affirmative Statement with Tag Question|
| It will work.|| It will work, won't it?|
| They will work.|| They will work, won't they?|
In formal English, there is a rule which states that, in order to express determination and compulsion, the auxiliary will
is to be used in the first person, and the auxiliary shall
is to be used in the second person and third person. This is the reverse of the use of will
found in the Simple Future. The use of will
in the first person is supposed to express determination, and the use of shall
in the second person and third person is supposed to express compulsion.
For instance, for the verb to work
, the Simple conjugation which expresses determination and compulsion is as follows:
|I will work|
|you shall work|
|he shall work|
|she shall work|
|it shall work|
|we will work|
|they shall work|
In this conjugation, the expressions I will work,
and we will work,
have the meaning I am determined to work,
and we are determined to work.
In contrast, the expressions you shall work,
and they shall work,
for instance, have the meaning you will be compelled to work,
and they will be compelled to work.
The rule for expressing determination and compulsion which applies to the Simple conjugation, also applies to the Continuous, Perfect, and Perfect Continuous conjugations.
However, particularly in American English, the use of the conjugations expressing determination and compulsion is beginning to be considered old-fashioned. 3. The present continuous of To Go followed by an infinitive
The Present Continuous tense of to go
, followed by an infinitive, is often used to refer to an event which is about to happen, or to refer to an action which someone intends to carry out in the future.
The Present Continuous tense of the verb to go
is conjugated as follows:
|I am going|
|you are going|
|he is going|
|she is going|
|it is going|
|we are going|
|they are going|
The examples below illustrate the use of the Present Continuous tense of to go
, followed by an infinitive, to refer to a future event. In each of these examples, the Present Continuous of to go
is printed in bold type, and the infinitive which follows it is underlined.
e.g. It is going to rain
I am going to write
a letter tonight.
They are going to study
in France next year.
In the first example, the use of the Present Continuous of to go
followed by the infinitive to rain
indicates that it is about to rain. In the second and third examples, the use of the Present Continuous of to go
followed by the infinitives to write
and to study
indicates that the actions of writing and studying are intended to be carried out in the future.
It should also be noted that the Past Continuous tense of to go
can be used to express actions which were about to happen in the past.
e.g. I was going to write
a letter last night.
In this example, the use of the Past Continuous of to go
followed by the infinitive to write
indicates that the action of writing was intended to be carried out in the past.