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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: English Grammar to Use - Talking about the Future using the Present

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Talking about the Future 1 Grammar Activation Pack 12

English has no Future! In the previous Grammar Activation Packs I

have introduced you to the present and the past tenses, along with the simple, continuous,

and perfect aspects. I also mentioned that English has only the

two tenses, present and past. So where does this leave us when we want to

talk about the future? Dont worry, there are several ways that

we can talk about the future, including using the present tense, which is what I am going

to explain in this lesson.

Present Tenses for Future There are two aspects of the present tense

that we can use to talk about the future. We can use the simple aspect which uses the

auxiliary verb do, even when it is hidden, as it is below.

The festivities start next week. We can also use the continuous aspect, which

uses the auxiliary verb be, and the ing form of a non-finite verb.

The festivities are starting next week. Both of these statements are talking about

future events.

Present Simple Future Time The following sentence talks about something

we know with absolute certainty about the future.

The festivities start next week. The start date of the festivities is arranged

or planned and is unalterable. Notice that it also uses a future time indicator

to make the future clear. These future time indicators are often known

as adverbials of time or time adverbials. We can also use noun phrases as time adverbials.

Present Continuous for Future Likewise, we can talk about future arrangements

using the present continuous if we use future time indicators to make it clear that we are

talking about the future. The festivities are starting next week.

Without the future time indicator the sentence would suggest that the action was happening

at the present, which is what the present continuous normally talks about.

The festivities are starting. Future Time Indicators

To use the present simple or the present continuous to talk about the future, we usually use a

future time indicator if we want to make it clear what time we are talking about.

Future time indicators often use phrases with prepositions such as at, on, and in, along

with expressions using next and this. At

The preposition at is used to introduce time indicators when we talk about times on the

clock, mealtimes, and in some fixed phrases. The festivities start at six oclock.

The festivities are starting at six oclock. The festivities start at lunchtime.

The festivities are starting at lunchtime. The festivities start at the weekend.

The festivities are starting at Christmas. On

The preposition on is used to introduce time indicators when we talk about days of the

week and special days, along with specific dates.

The festivities start on Monday. The festivities are starting on Monday.

The festivities start on New Years Day. The festivities are starting on July 29th.

The festivities start on 1st January. The festivities are starting on a Tuesday.

In The preposition in is used to introduce time

indicators when we talk about seasons, years, centuries, months, and parts of the day.

The festivities start in winter this year. The festivities are starting in 2025.

The festivities start in spring next year. The festivities are starting in August.

The festivities start in the evening at 6. The festivities are starting in the spring.

This The pronoun this is used to introduce time

indicators when we talk about days of the week, weeks, months, years, weekends, and

seasons. The festivities start this Friday.

The festivities are starting this week. The festivities start this year.

The festivities are starting this weekend. The festivities start this Monday at 7 pm.

The festivities are starting this summer. This means the closest upcoming period or,

with week, month, and year, the period already in progress.

This Coming The phrase this coming is used to introduce

time indicators when we talk about days of the week, weeks, months, years, weekends,

and seasons. The festivities start this coming Friday.

The festivities are starting this coming week. The festivities start this coming year.

The festivities are starting this coming weekend. The festivities start this coming Monday at

7 pm. The festivities are starting this coming summer.

This coming means the closest upcoming period. Next

The adjective next is used to introduce time indicators when we talk about days of the

week, weeks, months, years, weekends, and seasons.

The festivities start next Friday. The festivities are starting next week.

The festivities start next year. The festivities are starting next weekend.

The festivities start next Monday at 7 pm. The festivities are starting next summer.

TheAfter Next The expression theafter next is used to

introduce time indicators when we talk about an even later time than that indicated by

next on its own. The festivities start the Friday after next.

The festivities are starting the week after next.

The festivities start the year after next. The festivities are starting the weekend after

next. After next means the period following the

closest upcoming period. A week on

When we talk about days a week or more after a day in this week, we can use a week/two

weeks ontime indicator. The festivities start two weeks on Friday.

The festivities are starting a week on Friday. The festivities start three weeks on Friday.

The festivities are starting two weeks on Saturday.

X weeks on means that many weeks after the next closest mentioned day.

A week nextWhen we talk about days some distance in the

future, we can use a week/two weeks nexttime indicator.

The festivities start a week next Friday. The festivities are starting a week next Friday.

The festivities start two weeks next Friday. The festivities are starting three weeks next

Saturday. X weeks next means that many weeks after the

next mentioned day. Implied Future

With the present continuous, certain verbs do not need to use a future time indicator

as the future is implicit in the statement. Verbs like meet, and phrasal verbs like pick

up. I am meeting him at the cinema.

I am picking him up from the airport.

Other Futures There are other ways to talk about the future,

too. Will

Going to Modals

May, Might, Could, ShouldCertain verbs:

Hope, Expect, Want, PlanConditional clauses

I am going to talk about these in future Grammar Activation Packs.

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