Grammar > Verb tenses > Future simple: I will

Future simple: I will

By Alena Lien, 24 Aug 2020

 

"Will" is a modal verb used to express the future. This is often used when we make a decision at the time of speaking or to express certainty in the future.

Grammar rules with "will"

As a modal verb, it is always followed by the base form of the main verb.

  • "She'll have the orange juice."

  • "I'll book my tickets later."

It can be contracted when used with pronouns. Although contracted forms are considered informal and unacceptable for writing.

  • I will =         I'll

  • You will =   You'll

  • She will =   She'll

  • He will =     He'll

  • It will =        It'll

  • We will =    We'll

  • They will = They'll

The negative, "will not," can also be contracted to "won't."

Uses

1.   When you decide to do something at the time of speaking.

 

This occurs before you do or plan to do something.

 

  • "I'll have some orange juice, thanks."

  • "I'll book my tickets this afternoon."

  • "I'm almost finished, I won't stay long."

There are a number of situations that this applies.

 

Offer to do something:

  • "That looks heavy, I'll help you with that."

 

Ask someone to do something:

  • "Thanks! Will you help me return these books?"

 

Agree to do something:

  • "Sure I'll walk you to the library."

 

Promise to do something:

  • "Thanks! I'll buy you coffee afterwards."

 

Refuse something:

  • "I won't be able to have coffee afterwards. My next class will start soon."

2.   Make predictions.

  • "Do you think we'll be able to get tickets?"

  • "The cinema's huge. I think we'll be able to."

When it comes to predictions, "will" and "going to" are often interchangeable. The difference is really that "going to" is based on current evidence, whereas "will" is more of a guess.

  • "I think the weather will be nice later."

  • "I think the weather is going to be nice later." 

 

3.   Certainty in the future. 

 

  • "The sun will rise again tomorrow."

  • "I'll turn 35 this month."

 

This is quite different from predictions. Context clues will help distinguish between the different uses.

Compare the following examples.

Prediction:

  • "It's possible there won't be any alcohol at the party."

Certain:

  • "Since I'm the organiser, there won't be any alcohol at the party." 

In these examples, the "organiser" is able to confirm there is no alcohol, whereas, saying things like "It's possible" "I think" or "maybe" indicates a guess. 

Prediction:

  • "Maybe she'll drop by after work."

 

Certain:

  • "She'll drop by after work."

In these examples, "maybe" indicates a guess but a lack of context clues assumes it is a statement of certainty. 

4.   To make conditional sentences when talking about possible situations in the future.

 

This is called the First Conditional and is usually used to describe things that are likely to happen in the future. 

 

  • "I'll do some work in the garden if it's not raining tomorrow."

  • "If he gets promoted, he'll buy a new car."

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