Grammar Rules – Future Tenses
Future simple – will
Positive statement: I will learn (I’ll learn), He will learn (He’ll learn)
Negative statement: I will not learn (I won’t learn), He will not learn (He won’t learn)
Question: Will you learn?
Neg. question: Will you not learn? (Won’t you learn?)
We can also use shall in the first person singular and plural (I, we). But this form is quite formal
in modern English and is not very common.
I shall do it for you.
We shall come soon.
1. Will is used as a modal auxiliary verb to show a general intention.
He will change his job.
We’ll travel abroad. (short form of will)
I will not need it.
They won’t change the telephone number. (short form of will not)
Will you take the exam?
2. Will is used for predictions or opinions.
It will snow in winter.
The horse will not win.
We can use following verbs or adverbs to express that we assume something, but we are not sure: think,
be sure, hope, believe, suppose, perhaps, possibly, probably, surely.
They’ll probably study art.
I don’t think she’ll accept it.
3. Will is used to express a decision or offer made at the moment of speaking.
Can I walk you home? – No, thank you. I’ll take a taxi.
Please, tell Peter about it. – O.K. I’ll call him.
I am going to call Peter. Do you want me to say hello to him?
(Going to expresses our decision made before the moment of speaking.)
Positive statement: I will be sitting (I’ll be sitting)
Negative statement: I will not be sitting (I won’t be sitting)
Question: Will you be sitting?
Neg. question: Will you not be sitting? (Won’t you be sitting?)
1. This tense is used for an action that will be in progress at a point of time in the future. It will start before
that point of time and will continue after it. The point in time can be given by a time expression or by
another action in the future simple (will). This usage is very similar to the past continuous in this aspect.
At 8 o’clock I will be travelling to Dorset.
This time tomorrow we’ll be lying on the beach.
(In these two sentences the point of time that we refer to is given by a time expression.)
Online exercises and grammar rules at www.e-grammar.org/future-simple-continuous/
The shop will be closed. Will you be working?
I’ll be sleeping when you come back.
(In these two sentences the point of time that we refer to is given by another activity.)
2. The future continuous describes the idea that something will happen in the normal course of events. It
refers to a routine activity, not an intention, decision or plan.
I’ll be writing to you again. (I always write to you, so I’ll do it again, as usual.)
They’ll be leaving on Friday. You can join them. (They normally leave on Fridays.)
Everybody will be working on a computer sooner or later. (If nothing special happens.)
Future continuous vs present continuous
We are going to the cinema next weekend.
(The present tense means that we have already arranged it. We know the time and place and probably have
We’ll be going to the cinema next weekend.
(The future continuous only tells us how we will spend the weekend. But we have not arranged anything
and, probably, we do not even know which film we want to see.)
I am seeing Susan tomorrow.
(I have some reason. Susan and I have arranged the time and place.)
I’ll be seeing Susan tomorrow.
(Susan is my classmate and because I will go to school tomorrow, I will see her as usual.)
Future simple vs continuous
Bill won’t play football tomorrow.
(The fact is that Bill cannot play or does not want to play for some reason.)
Bill won’t be playing football tomorrow.
(Bill will not play, because it will be Friday and he never plays on Fridays.)
I’ll call Mimi tonight. I’ll ask her.
(I will do it because I need to talk to her.)
I’ll be calling Mimi tonight. I can ask her.
(I call her every night, that is why I will call her tonight too.)
In these examples the future simple shows intentions, while in the continuous there is no intention, it
expresses routine actions.
In some cases we can use several forms for future events. But every form will have a slightly different
I’ll be meeting Jim next week.
(I meet Jim every week and it will be the same next week.)
I’ll meet Jim next week.
(I intend to meet Jim next week or I suppose that I will meet him.)
I’m going to meet Jim next week.
(I decided to meet Jim some time ago and now I am expressing my intention.)
I’m meeting Jim next week.
(We have arranged the time and place because we have some reason to meet.)
It will rain, I’m afraid.
(I assume it will rain, it is my opinion. But who knows!)
It’s going to rain.
(I am sure it will rain because I can see the dark clouds in the sky. My opinion is based on clear evidence.)
The present tense (I am meeting) is more definite than be going to (I am going to meet) and will is the
least definite (I will meet).
Future perfect simple
Positive statement: I will have painted, I will have written, He will have painted, He will have
written (I’ll have painted, He’ll have painted)
Negative statement: I will not have painted (I won’t have painted), He will not have painted (He
won’t have painted)
Question: Will you have painted?
Neg. question: Will you not have painted? (Won’t you have painted?)
We use the future perfect simple for events that will be completed before or at a certain time. It is often
used with a time expression beginning with by: by then, by that time, by midnight, by the end of the year.
The time can also be given by other time expressions (on Sunday, before 31 June) or other activities
expressed in different future tenses.
I will have sent the project by Friday.
On 11 August this year we will have been married for five years.
When the mountaineers get back to the base, they’ll have been in the snowstorm for two days.
We’ll have reached the top before noon.
How long will she have worked here by the end of this year?
In all these examples, at a given time the future perfect actions will be in the past.
Future perfect continuous
Positive statement: I will have been meeting (I’ll have been meeting)
Negative statement: I will not have been meeting (I won’t have been meeting)
Question: Will you have been meeting?
Neg. question: Will you not have been meeting? (Won’t you have been meeting?)
We use the future perfect continuous tense for activities that will continue until a point of time in the
future and will not be completed. Like the simple tense it is normally used with by or other time
expressions and future actions.
I’ll go home on 20 June. By then I’ll have been staying at this hotel for a fortnight.
At six o’clock we’ll have been waiting here for three hours.
When you arrive, we’ll have been sitting in the classroom all day.
Future perfect simple vs continuous
It is used for incomplete, uninterrupted activities. If we refer to a number of individual actions or actions
that were repeated, we must use the future perfect simple.
When I am sixty, I’ll have been building houses for thirty years. (one incomplete activity)
When I am sixty, I’ll have built more than fifty houses. (fifty individual actions)
By 5 o’clock I’ll have been washing this car for an hour and a half. (one uninterrupted activity)
By 5 o’clock I’ll have washed this car and replaced the tyres. (two completed activities that will be done
one after another)
In this respect the simple and continuous aspects are similar to the other tenses (the past tense, present
perfect, past perfect), which you can study on this website to get more details and more examples.