There are several ways of talking about the future.
The future simple (will + infinitive) is used:■ to talk about a decision that you make as you are speaking:
- ‘It’s cold in here.’ ‘OK, I’ll close the window.’
- I’ll have the salad, please.
■ to talk about what you know or think will happen in the future (but not about your own intentions or plans):
- Her mother will be ninety next week.
- Will he pass the exam, do you think?
- This job won’t take long.
■ for requests, promises and offers:
- Will you buy some bread on your way home?
- We’ll be back early, don’t worry.
- I’ll help you with your homework.
However, other tenses and expressions are also used to express a ‘future’ idea.
The present progressive is used:■ to talk about future plans where the time is mentioned:
- He’s flying to Japan in August.
- What are you doing this evening?
- I’m not starting my new job till next Monday.
Be going to with the infinitive is used:■ to talk about what you intend to do in the future:
- I’m going to phone Michael tonight.
- What are you going to do when you leave school?
About to with the infinitive is used:■ to talk about the very near future:
- Go and ask him quickly. He’s about to go out.
The present simple is used:■ to refer to a future time after when, as soon as, before, until, etc.:
- Ring me as soon as you hear any news.
- I’ll look after Jo until you get back.
- You’ll recognize the street when you see it.
■ to talk about future plans where something has been officially arranged, for example on a timetable or programme:
- We leave Palma at 10 and arrive in Luton at 12.30.
- School starts on 9 September.
The future progressive is used:■ to talk about actions that will continue for a period of time in the future:
- I’ll be waiting near the ticket office.
- I’ll be wearing a green hat.
- This time next week you’ll be relaxing in the sun!
■ to ask somebody about their plans or intentions:
- How many nights will you be staying?
- Will you be flying back or going by train?
The future perfect or the future perfect progressive is used:■ to talk about the duration of something that you will be looking back on at a particular time in the future:
- They’ll have lived here for four years in May.
- She’ll have been working here for a year in October.
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