TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE

Description

How we talk about the future is quite nuanced. This is an attempt to show the various ways we can express things in the future.
Rafael Mrowinski
Mind Map by Rafael Mrowinski, updated more than 1 year ago
Rafael Mrowinski
Created by Rafael Mrowinski over 10 years ago
462
2

Resource summary

TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE
  1. be + going to (gonna [informal]) + 1st verb form
    1. Plans/intentions

      Annotations:

      • You thought about this in the past and decided to do it, but it's not 100% certain and it's likely you still have to organise a few things. Even though you want to do this, your plans can change if something better or more important comes up.
      1. I'm going to visit my brother next month and he's gonna take me to Paris.
      2. Predictions based on current evidence or past experience

        Annotations:

        • You are making an informed guess about the future and you are certain about it because of what you can see now as evidence or because you have past experience related to your guess.
        1. 1. Look at those two cars - they are going to crash!

          Annotations:

          • We can see the cars are going too fast towards each other, so there is strong evidence pointing to a crash.
          1. 2. It's going to rain today - just look at those black clouds.
            1. 3. Sorry, I'm not gonna make it (be there, meet you). I'm stuck in a traffic jam.
          2. She's very smart - she's gonna pass the exam easily.

            Annotations:

            • We know from past experience that exams aren't a problem for her.
        2. be + verb+ing
          1. Arrangements/appointments

            Annotations:

            • You decided to do this and organised it in the past. You don't have to organise anything else and it is certain. Only something very important can change this (an emergency, an accident).
            1. 1. We are taking the kids to Disneyland this summer.

              Annotations:

              • We organised it in the past, bought the tickets, booked the hotel, etc.
              1. 2. I'm going to France for Christmas.
              2. 1. She's seeing her accountant tomorrow.

                Annotations:

                • It's an appointment she made in the past.
                1. 2. I'm getting a haircut next week.
            2. will ('ll) + 1st verb form
              1. Snap (spontaneous) decisions made while speaking

                Annotations:

                • You are reacting to present circumstances on the spot. There is no thinking involved. The decision is instant.
                1. 1. John: "I haven't eaten all day!" Mary: "I'll make you a sandwich."
                  1. 2. A+B: "We are stuck at the airport - there are no buses or taxis." C+D: "Just stay there and we'll pick you up."
                  2. Predictions based on belief, opinion or desire

                    Annotations:

                    • You believe this will happen and it's not based on evidence or experience.
                    1. 1. I will be rich one day.
                      1. 2. (The weather forecast is for rain) "It'll be sunny tomorrow; I just know it."
                        1. 3. People will live on different planets by 2070.
                        2. Promises/certainty
                          1. I'll see you tomorrow.
                            1. Yes, she will be there tonight.
                              1. I won't tell anyone about this.
                              2. Degrees of certainty

                                Annotations:

                                • You can use additional expressions (maybe, perhaps, probably, I think, I believe, I imagine, I hope, I know, I'm sure) with 'will + verb' to express degrees of certainty
                                1. I'm tired, so I don't think I'll go out tonight.
                                  1. Maybe we'll stay at home this weekend.
                                    1. I hope she will call me.
                                      1. I don't know if I will go anywhere in the summer.
                                        1. I'm sure Jane will be okay.
                                          1. I believe we will survive this crisis.
                                            1. He'll probably be here soon.
                                          2. will ('ll) + be + verb+ing
                                            1. Pre-arranged activities within a specific time frame
                                              1. Tonight we'll be watching a TV series.
                                                1. I'll be working tomorrow afternoon
                                                  1. They will be painting the house at the weekend
                                                2. may/might + 1st verb form
                                                  1. Possibility
                                                    1. I may go out tonight.
                                                      1. I might visit my sister this weekend.
                                                    2. Other ways of expressing the future
                                                      1. Phrases
                                                        1. due to

                                                          Annotations:

                                                          • We use 'due to' for something that is formally arranged.
                                                          1. The plane's due to take off in ten minutes.
                                                          2. be to

                                                            Annotations:

                                                            • We use 'be to' for officially arranged events.
                                                            1. President Obama is to visit Europe next month.
                                                            2. about to

                                                              Annotations:

                                                              • We use 'about to' when something will happen very soon or immediately.
                                                              1. Jane's about to have a baby.
                                                              2. bound to

                                                                Annotations:

                                                                • We think this is inevitable.
                                                                1. We're bound to get stuck in holiday traffic.
                                                                2. likely to

                                                                  Annotations:

                                                                  • This will probably happen.
                                                                  1. It's likely to rain tomorrow
                                                                3. Verbs
                                                                  1. hope
                                                                    1. We're hoping to buy an apartment later this year.
                                                                    2. want
                                                                      1. I want to finish this by tonight.
                                                                      2. plan
                                                                        1. I'm planning to sell my car.
                                                                        2. would like
                                                                          1. I would like to meet him.
                                                                          2. think
                                                                            1. We're thinking of having a party soon.
                                                                        3. will ('ll) + have + 3rd verb form
                                                                          1. You can't see me at 5:30 pm because I will have left the office by 5 pm.

                                                                            Annotations:

                                                                            • This action will be completed by a specified point in the future and no later. 
                                                                          2. Present Simple
                                                                            1. Timetables/schedules
                                                                              1. The train leaves at 8 pm tonight.
                                                                                1. The concert starts at 7 pm and finishes at 10 pm.
                                                                              2. will ('ll) + have + been + verb+ing
                                                                                1. Next month, I will have been working here for 2 years

                                                                                  Annotations:

                                                                                  • I am looking back at this activity from a future end point. 
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