Three Common Ways to Express the Future in English

There are three important ways to express the future in English:

Will future: I will get a job when I get there.

Future going to: I am going to get a job.

Present Continuous with future meaning: I am working in the city tomorrow.

Three Future Tenses

Let’s look at these three future tenses in more detail. “Will” future is used in the first conditional, which is also called “real conditional”:

First Conditional – Will Conditional

The first conditional or “will conditional” looks like this:

If it rains I will take my umbrella.

If you lend me ten dollars, I will pay you back tomorrow.
If you pay attention, you will understand.

If you listen to me, I will listen to you.

If you study, you will pass the test.
If you read this book, you will understand everything.

Note that each of these sentences can be reversed and the word “if” appears in the middle:

I will take my umbrella, if it rains.

I will pay you back tomorrow, if you lend me ten dollars.

You will understand, if you pay attention.

I will listen to you, if you listen to me.

You will pass the test, if you study.

You will understand everything, if you read this book.

The Future of Work

We use first conditional (“will” conditional or “real conditional”) to express ideas about this topic:

If robots replace human workers, the humans will not have jobs.
If people do not have jobs they will not be able to earn a living.
If people do not earn a living, they will not be able to pay for food, clothing and shelter.
If people are hungry, they will start a revolution.
if the government does not provide for people, the people will rise up and overthrow the government.


Do you trust the government?
Do you think the government is working for you or trying to make a profit from you?

Future Going to Tense

Note the difference between:

I am going to school.


I am going to study.

“School” is a place so the first example is not future “going to” tense. It is just present continuous tense. The future “going to” tense uses the pattern:

Going to PLUS Verb

You can see more examples at this link:

The Planned Future

Present Continuous Tense with Future Meaning

Present continuous tense has two functions. It can refer to an action which is taking place now:

I am talking to you.
I am listening to you.
I am studying English.

It can also refer to an action which is an arrangement between two people and it will happen soon:

– What are you doing tonight?
– I am having dinner with a friend. Are you doing anything?
– I am just staying home.
– Would you like to join us?
– Thanks but I am very tired. I think I will go to bed early.

Study more lessons by following the links below:


The Nature of English – Time

The Time Page

The Verb Page

The Planned Future

Spontaneous Future

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