Simple Future Tense

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Simple Future Tense? (with Examples)

The simple future tense is used for an action that will occur in the future. For example:
  • John will bake a cake.
  • They will paint the fence.

More Examples of the Simple Future Tense

Here are some examples of the simple future tense (shaded):
  • The Moscow State Circus will perform in Cheltenham next year.
  • We will celebrate our anniversary by flying to New York.
  • Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later. (Author Og Mandino)
  • What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. (Greek biographer Plutarch)

Forming the Simple Future Tense

The simple future tense is formed:
"will"
+
[base form of the verb]
  • She will play.
  • Martin will paint.

The Negative Version

If you need the negative version, you can use the following word order:
"will not"
+
base form of verb
  • The Moscow State Circus will not perform in Cheltenham next year.
  • We won't celebrate our anniversary by flying to New York.
  • (Note: "Will not" can be shortened to "won't" in English.)

The Question Version

If you need to ask a question, you can use the following word order for a yes/no question:
"will"
+
[subject]
+
base form of verb
  • Will the Moscow State Circus perform in Cheltenham next year?
  • Will we celebrate our anniversary by flying to New York?
You can use the following word order for a question-word question:
[question word]
+
"will"
+
[subject]
+
base form of verb
  • When will the Moscow State Circus perform in Cheltenham?
  • How will we celebrate our anniversary in New York?
You can use the following word order for a choice question:
"will"
+
[subject]
+
base form of verb
+
choice A
+
or
+
choice B
  • Will the Moscow State Circus perform in Oxford or Cambridge?
  • Will we celebrate our anniversary on Friday or Saturday?

Contractions with the Simple Future Tense

Be aware that in speech and writing (particularly informal writing), it is common for will to be shortened to 'll. This is especially common when will follows a personal pronoun (e.g. I, he, she).
  • I will > I'll
  • he will > he'll
  • she will > she'll
  • it will > it'll
  • (This is not as common as the others.)
  • you will > you'll
  • we will > we'll
  • they will > they'll
  • who will > who'll
  • (This is not as common as the others.)

Getting Some Emphasis in There

Be aware that will can be stressed for emphasis. For example:
  • When will the cake be ready?
  • I can tell you now. She will be accepted.
  • (When looking for emphasis, you can't use the shortened versions. In other words, you can't use "she'll" in this example if you want to stress the word "will" for emphasis.)
With the negative version, the "not" is stressed. As before, you can't use the shortened version.
  • I will not tolerate sloppy drills.
  • (You can't use "I'll not" or "I won't" if you want to stress the word "not" for emphasis.)

Infographic for the Simple Future Tense

simple future tense
The tables below show all 12 tenses so you can see the simple future tense among the other tenses. (You can change the verb by clicking one of the green buttons.)

Top 10 Regular Verbs

Top 10 Irregular Verbs

All 4 Past Tenses

PersonSimple PastPast Progressive TensePast Perfect TensePast Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • past tense
  • past tense
  • past tense
  • past tense
  • past tense
  • past tense
The simple past tense is for a completed activity that happened in the past.
  • was present participle
  • were present participle
  • was present participle
  • were present participle
  • were present participle
  • were present participle
The past progressive tense is for an ongoing activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
  • had past participle
The past perfect tense is for emphasizing that an action was completed before another took place.
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
  • had been present participle
The past perfect progressive tense is for showing that an ongoing action in the past has ended.

All 4 Present Tenses

PersonSimple PresentPresent Progressive TensePresent Perfect TensePresent Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • base form
  • base form
  • 3rd pers sing present
  • base form
  • base form
  • base form
The simple present tense is mostly for a fact or a habit.
  • am present participle
  • are present participle
  • is present participle
  • are present participle
  • are present participle
  • are present participle
The present progressive tense is for an ongoing action in the present.
  • have past participle
  • have past participle
  • has past participle
  • have past participle
  • have past participle
  • have past participle
The present perfect tense is for an action that began in the past. (Often, the action continues into the present.)
  • have been present participle
  • have been present participle
  • has been present participle
  • have been present participle
  • have been present participle
  • have been present participle
The present perfect progressive tense is for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present (or finished very recently).

All 4 Future Tenses

PersonSimple FutureFuture Progressive TenseFuture Perfect TenseFuture Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • will base form
  • will base form
  • will base form
  • will base form
  • will base form
  • will base form
The simple future tense is for an action that will occur in the future.
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
  • will be present participle
The future progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will occur in the future.
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
  • will have past participle
The future perfect tense is for an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
  • will have been present participle
The future perfect progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will be completed at some specified time in the future.

The Other Future Tenses

The simple future tense is one of four future tenses. This table shows all four of the future tenses:
The 4 Future Tenses Example
simple future tense I will go
future progressive tense I will be going
future perfect tense I will have gone
future perfect progressive tense I will have been going

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See Also

Tenses Simple past tense Past progressive tense Past perfect tense Past perfect progressive tense Simple present tense Present progressive tense Present perfect tense Present perfect progressive tense Future progressive tense Future perfect tense Future perfect progressive tense Glossary of grammatical terms

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