Present tense for the future
There are several ways of talking about the future in English. One way is to use ‘will’. However, this article shows how we use the present tense for the future. First we shall look at how we form the present tenses.
The present tenses in English are the present continuous:
I am doing
You are doing
He/she/it is doing
We/they/you are doing
And the present simple:
We use the present continuous for things we have decided to do in the future and for things we have arranged to do in the future.
Tomorrow I’m taking the kids to the beach.
This year, we’re going to Greece for our holiday.
They’re spending Christmas at home this year.
We’re moving to France in the summer.
We can also use it for things we are going to do as we start doing them, for example
I’m going to bed, goodnight!
Sam’s going to the bar. Do you want another drink?
Questions asking about the future using the present continuous:
Are you still playing tennis tomorrow?
Is Tom coming to the party with us on Saturday night?
When are you two getting married?
What time are you leaving?
How long are you staying in Italy for?
We also use ‘to be going to’ do something. We use this to talk about things we think will probably happen.
I think it’s going to rain soon.
If you are not careful, you are going to hurt yourself.
We are not going to be able to buy a new car, if you keep spending money.
We use ‘was/were going to do something’ to talk something we wanted to do but did not do.
I was going to wash the car but it started raining.
We were going to go skiing this year but my husband broke his leg.
Paul was going to book the hotel but he forgot!
We use the present simple to talk about things we have scheduled or arranged and in timetables or programmes.
My flight leaves in two hours.
The train leaves Birmingham at twelve and arrives in Crewe at one thirty.
Tomorrow’s meeting starts at 9am.
It is Friday tomorrow.
I can’t go to Tom’s party on Saturday, I’m in France.
I start my new job on Monday.
Remember: We use the present continuous for more personal plans/arrangements.
‘What time are you getting the train?’ compare with ‘What time does your train arrive?’
‘Are you going to Tom’s party on Saturday night.’
‘I don’t know. What time does it start?’
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