How many ways do you know to talk about the future in English? In this video, I will teach you four easy ways to talk about the future: will, going to, the present continuous, and the simple present. I will compare when and how we use these grammatical tenses to talk about the future. After you watch this lesson, quiz yourself to practice and make sure you get it. I know that you will do well.
Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s lesson, I’m going to teach you the four futures. Okay? A lot of you know two futures, I think. A lot of you probably know “will” and “going to”. I’m going to teach you two more futures today, and teach you how they’re different from one another. Okay?
So let’s get started with the present continuous future. So the present continuous is when you have “be” verb, so “I am”, “you are”, “he is”, “she is”, “they are”, I don’t know if I said “we are”, “we are” plus the verb and “ing”. Okay? So we have “am”, the verb, “ing”. This is known as the present continuous. It’s usually one of the first things you will learn when you’re learning English. So a lot of you know the present continuous, and you think: “Oh, present continuous, it’s taking place now.” You’re right, but we can also use it to talk about the future. We use the present continuous to talk about future that is going to happen very, very soon.
So, for example, if you ask me: “Emma, what are you doing this weekend?” Well: “I’m hanging out with my friend, Josh, this weekend.” Okay? Or I might say: “I’m shopping this weekend.”, “I’m studying this weekend.” If you ask me: “What are you doing tonight?” Well, you know, I want to be a good student, so: -“I’m studying tonight. I’m studying tonight.” -“What are you doing next week?” -“Well, next week… I’m working next week.” Okay? So present continuous is very, very common for when we’re talking about the future that’s going to happen soon. Not future that’s going to happen 2,000 years from now or 50 years from now – no, no, that’s far future. We’re talking about the future that’s going to happen in the next couple of days. Okay? So very, very soon future.
We can also use the simple present to talk about the future. So, the simple present is when you take a verb and, you know, it’s in the basic form, usually you add an “s”. If it’s third-person singular, for example: “I leave”, “you leave”, “he leaves”, “she leaves”, “they leave”, “we leave”. So this is all simple present. In your classes, you probably learned we use the simple present when we talk about routine. We can also use the simple present when we’re talking about routines in the future. Okay? So, for example… And by this I mean timetables. We use this when we’re talking about a schedule event; something that is scheduled to happen in the future. So, this usually has to do with when we’re talking about transportation; trains, airplanes, we can use this tense. We can use it when we’re talking about TV shows. We can use it when we’re talking about restaurants opening and closing, or stores, when they open and close. So we use this when we’re thinking about a schedule or a timetable.
So here are some examples: “The last train leaves at 6pm today.” So 6pm hasn’t happened yet. It’s in the future, but because this is a schedule event, it’s a timetable event, it’s a schedule, we can use the simple present. Here’s another example: “The restaurant opens at 5pm today.” So this hasn’t happened yet. Right now, it is 2pm. This is going to happen in the future. But still, I use the simple present because this is a schedule. Okay? Every day the restaurant opens at 5pm. Here’s a third example, I like watching TV, imagine I like The Big Bang Theory: “My TV show, The Big Bang Theory, starts at 4pm.” So again, it’s a routine, it’s a schedule that takes place in the future, but it’s still a schedule so we can use the simple present here. All right, so these two, even though they’re present tenses, they can be used for the future.
Now let’s look at the two verbs we commonly use for the future or we commonly think of as future verbs. “Be going to” + a verb and “will”. So, “be going to” + verb: “I’m going to study.”, “I’m going to sleep.”, “You are going to watch a video.” Okay? These are examples of the “be going to” + verb future. So we use this when we’re talking about the near future. Similar to this… So it’s not a future that’s very, very far away; it’s soon, but it’s a future where we think something is going to happen, and we have evidence that something is going to happen.