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LANGUAGE:

Future with ‘will’ – Rules and exercises for intermediate level

Monday, 23 July 2018
Young people jumping Future with 'will': we will jump. Designed by Freepik

In English there are several ways to show that you are talking about something that is going to happen when you are speaking or writing. In this on-line lesson for intermediate level students we focus on ‘will’. ‘

Will’ is the future tense of the verb ‘to be’. By attaching it to actions expected, possible or certain to happen, you can show that you are talking about the future. When you are ready, try the exercises at the end of the lesson to practice using ‘will’.

Future with ‘will’: form

In this table, you can see how the grammar for ‘will’ works when forming simple sentences in the future, here using the example verb ‘jump’.

 Person Positive Negative Question
I/we

will jump.

shall jump.

will not (won’t) jump.

shall not (shan’t) jump. 

will I/we jump?

shall I/we jump?

She/he/it will jump. will not (won’t) jump.

will she/he/it jump?

You/they  will you/they jump?

As you can see, the verb ‘will’ is changed to whether the speaker is talking about something that is going to happen, or not going to happen. Using the contraction ‘won’t’ in place of ‘will not’ may sound softer and more natural. ‘Shall’ is a less common form in modern English and can only be used with I and we.

Future with ‘will’: use

‘Will’ is commonly used in English in several other ways.

Promising to do something:

‘She will buy you a present.

In this example the speaker is certain that the event will occur. A promise can be expressed in this way, or with by adding the verb ‘to promise’:

I promise I will walk the dog.

Paul and Annie promise they will.

Offering to do something and asking for help:

Will you do it for me?

Will you wash the car, please?

‘Will’ in this form can only be used for ‘I’ to ask ‘you’ to form an action.

Agreeing to do something.

You can reply to requests like this in a similar way:

I will do it for you.

Jim and I will wash the car.

I won’t buy a present for her.

Predicting the future

You can use ‘will’ to talk about future events that aren’t certain:

It will rain.

You’ll fall over if you’re not careful.

Expressing degrees of certainty.

Using ‘will’ can be very direct. To show that you are not certain about something, you can add phrases such as ‘I expect’, ‘I wonder if’ or ‘I think’.

I expect it will rain (sounds less certain than ‘it will rain’)/.

I can’t imagine she will walk the dog (sounds softer than ‘she will not walk the dog’).

They think it will melt.

Or, if you are certain about something in the future, you can use ‘sure’ and ‘certain’.

George is certain the chicken will be cooked.

I am sure the cat won’t scratch.

Future with ‘will’: ‘will be doing’ and ‘will have done’

Using ‘will’, you can talk about something will have happened by a certain time. This tense is called the Future Perfect.

 Person Positive Negative Question

I

you

she/he/it

have will jumped.

will not have jumped.

will have jumped?

we

they 

will have jumped. will not have jumped.

will have jumped?

Read this conversation:

‘Can I pick up the keys on Tuesday?’
‘No, I will have gone by then.’

The second speaker uses the Future Perfect to talk about a single event that finishes before another.
It can also be used to discuss something that will not have occurred:

‘Can I meet you in Cornwall on Monday?’
‘No, I will not have gone by then.’

Or ask a question:

‘Will you have got the keys by then?’

Using ‘will’, you can talk about something will be happening over a certain time in the future. This tense is called the Future Continuous.

 Person Positive Negative Question
I/we

will be jumping.

shall be jumping.

will not (won’t) be jumping.

shall not (shan’t) jump. 

will I/we be jumping?

shall I/we be jumping?

She/he/it will be jumping. will not (won’t) be jumping.

will she/he/it be jumping?

You/they  will you/they be jumping?

Read this conversation:

‘Can I pick up the puppy this afternoon?’
‘No, I will be walking him then.’

The second speaker uses the Future Continuous and ‘will’ to talk about a continuous event that occurs in the time being discussed.

It can also be used to discuss something that will not have occurred:

‘Can you go shopping tonight?’
‘No, I won’t be working in town.’

Or ask a question:

‘Will you be working at home?’

Future with ‘will’: Be careful!

If you need to say something happening (I will go to the shop) dependent on something else happening (when I have money), then it is important to remember only to use ‘will’ once.
‘I will go to the shops when I have money’ is correct.
‘I will go to the shops when I will have money’ is incorrect.

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Last modified on Thursday, 02 August 2018 15:51

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