What is Future Tense? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 Future Tense
  • 0:22 Will + Base Verb
  • 1:32 Going To + Base Verb
  • 1:57 Questions About the Future
  • 2:19 More Examples and Uses
  • 2:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lindsey Hays

Lindsey has taught Elementary Education, Spanish immersion, and ESL. She has a MS in Elementary Education with a BA in Spanish.

When we talk about things that have yet to happen, we use the future tense. In this lesson, we'll look at examples and uses of future tense verbs. You'll be an expert at future tense when this lesson is done!

Future Tense

What do you want to be when you grow up? Where will you live? Will you have a family? When we imagine the future and what life will be like, we use future tense verbs; these are verbs that describe something that has yet to take place.

Let's look at some ways to use future tense verbs along with some examples.

Will + Base Verb

One way to describe what will happen in the future is to use the format ''will'' + base verb:

  • She will finish her project next week.

Since this action describes what will happen in the future (in this case, next week), we use the future tense of the verb: ''will finish.''

We can also use the verb 'will' as a contraction. For the positive form, the verb ''will'' contracts with the subject pronoun:

  • I will: I'll
  • She will: she'll
  • He will: he'll
  • They will: they'll
  • It will: it'll

For the negative form, the verb ''will'' contracts with ''not:''

  • Will + not = won't
  • I will + not = I won't
  • She will + not = she won't
  • He will + not = he won't
  • They will + not = they won't
  • It will + not = it won't

Let's look at some examples where the contraction ''won't'' describes an event that's unlikely or impossible to occur in the future:

  • I won't run ten miles.
  • They won't make it to the movie on time.
  • We won't stay out past curfew.

The negative form can also be used when a person doesn't want to do something, for example:

  • He won't clean his room no matter how many times I ask.

Going to + Base Verb

Another way to use the future tense is to use the format ''be'' conjugated + ''going to'' + base verb. For example:

  • I am going to swim at the beach next Monday.
  • He is going to lift weights the gym tomorrow.
  • It is going to rain tonight.
  • They are going to study in class this afternoon.

In these sentences, ''am going to,'' ''is going to,'' and ''are going to'' describe future events.

Questions About the Future

When we ask a question about the future, we put ''will'' or ''won't'' as the first word in the sentence. We can ask if something will be occurring in the future. For example:

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