Verb Tenses: The Simple Future

SIMPLE FUTURE

Simple future, form

The 'simple' future is composed of two parts: will / shall + the infinitive without 'to'

Subject will infinitive without to
He will leave...

Affirmative

I

will

go

I

shall

go

Negative
They will not see

They

won't

see

Interrogative

Will

she

ask?

Interrogative negative

Won't

she

take?


Contractions

I will I'll

We will we'll

You will you'll

You will you'll

He,she, will he'll, she'll

They will they'll

NOTE: The form 'it will' is not normally shortened.

Example: to see, simple future

Affirmative Negative Interrogative

I'll see

I won't see

Will I see?

*I will / shall see

I shan't see

Shall I see?

You'll see

You won't see

Will you see?

He, she, it will see

He won't see

Will she see?

We'll see

We won't see

Will we see?

*We will / shall see

We shan't see

Shall we see?

You will see

You won't see

Will you see?

They'll see

They won't see

Will they see?

*NOTE: shall is slightly dated but can be used instead of will with I or we.

Simple future, function

The simple future refers to a time later than now, and expresses facts or certainty. In this case there is no 'attitude'.

The simple future is used:

  • to predict a future event:
    It will rain tomorrow.
  • (with I/we) to express a spontaneous decision:
    I'll pay
    for the tickets by credit card.
  • to express willingness:
    I'll do
    the washing-up. He'll carry your bag for you.
  • (in the negative form) to express unwillingness:
    The baby won't eat his soup.
    I won't leave until I've seen the manager!
  • (with I in the interrogative form) to make an offer:
    Shall I open
    the window?
  • (with we in the interrogative form) to make a suggestion:
    Shall we go
    to the cinema tonight?
  • (with I in the interrogative form) to ask for advice or instructions:
    What shall I tell the boss about this money?
  • (with you) to give orders:
    You will do
    exactly as I say.
  • (with you) to give an invitation:
    Will you come to the dance with me? Will you marry me?

NOTE: In modern English will is preferred to shall.

Shall is mainly used with I and we to make an offer or suggestion (see examples (e) and (f) above, or to ask for advice (example (g) above).
With the other persons (you, he, she, they) shall is only used in literary or poetic situations, e.g.

  • "With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes."









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