Learn English Tenses: 4 ways to talk about the FUTURE
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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.
So, for example: "I'm going to study English next month in Canada."
This means you probably have your ticket already bought, you're pretty sure about this.
There's not a lot of confusion.
This is almost going to happen almost certainly. So you're pretty sure about this.
"I'm going to study English next month."
Another example, imagine I watch the weather station. Okay?
And the meteorologist has predicted the weather, but it's a very good prediction because we
see these clouds in the sky, there's a lot of evidence it's going to rain. Because there's
evidence, we could use this tense and we could say:
"It's going to rain all week."
So this is based... It's in the near future, but it's based on some sort of evidence. This is likely
to happen, and we're pretty sure it's going to happen. We have some evidence that makes
us think it's going to happen.
So this is a bit different from "will", which is one of the maybe easier futures to think
about. We use "will" + a verb.
For example: "I will always love you.",
"I will study hard.",
"I will do my taxes on time."
Okay? So we use "will" + a verb when we're talking, first
of all, in the far future. So this is all soon. This is very soon; whereas this, is
very far. So for example:
"In 50 years, everyone will speak Chinese."
We use this also when we're not so sure about something.
This is my prediction, but I don't have much evidence
of this. I'm not very, very sure, so I will use "will" because I'm not sure; whereas if
I'm very sure, there's a lot of evidence, I know it's going to happen, I do "be going to".
So this one, there's not a lot of evidence, and it's a prediction we don't have evidence for.
Another example: "Aliens will invade Earth." Okay? In 25 years, aliens are coming,
they will invade the Earth. I don't mean to scare you. Luckily, I'm using "will", which
means I'm not really sure. If I said to you: "This week, aliens are invading the Earth",
you'd be very scared. If I said: "Aliens are going to invade the Earth. I know this. I
have secret government documents." I'd be using this, and you'd be scared, too. But
with "will", it's "will" so you don't have to be scared. It might not happen.
We also use "will" when we're making promises. Okay? So if somebody ever gets down on their
knee, and says:
-"Emma, will you marry me?"
-"I will marry you."
It means I'm promising to marry you.
Okay? Or maybe I don't really like the person, I might say:
"I won't marry you."
"Won't" is the negative form of "will". So I promise not to marry you.
I don't know in your culture, but in Canadian culture and many Western cultures, for New
Years, we always make these resolutions. We think: "Oh..." When it's New Years, when it's
January 1st, we make some sort of promise to our self that we're never going to do something
again, or we're going to start doing something. We normally use "will" for these. So, for
example, maybe you have had too many beers, and you're thinking:
"I don't want to ever drink again",
you might make a promise to yourself:
"I won't drink again. I will never drink again."
Okay? Or maybe you want to stop smoking:
"I will never smoke again. I will never do this again."
Okay? Maybe your parents are angry at you because, you know, you did
really bad on a test:
"I promise I will work harder, I will study harder."
So these are promises. We use "will" for promise.
Finally, we also use "will" for volunteering. Okay? When we want to volunteer for something,
we want to offer our help. We want to help someone, we can use "will". So, for example:
-"Emma, can you clean the dishes?" -"I'll do it."
-"Emma, can you vacuum the floor?"
-"Sure. I'll vacuum.",
"I'll get the telephone.",
"I'll help you with your homework.",
"I'll help you learn English."
I'm volunteering, and so I use "I will". Okay?
So just to recap, just to quickly go over everything:
there are four futures I'm teaching you today.
Present continuous can be used as the future if it's very soon.
Simple present can be used for the future if it's a routine or schedule,
something that's like... If you
look at a schedule in the future, we can use the simple present.
We can use "be going to"
if we're talking about the near future and some kind of plan that... Or prediction we
have evidence for. We are pretty certain it's going to happen. And then we can use "will"
and a verb for the far future for a promise or when we want to volunteer for something.