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The Simple Future Tense

a. Use:

The Simple Future tense is used to express actions that will take place in the future;
--> They will finish the work tomorrow.
--> He will arrive next Saturday.

Will is used to talk about a future fact:
--> The Mayor will open the new musem next Tuesday.

Will can be used to make a prediction;
--> I think it will be hot and sunny tomorrow.

Will is also used to express an intention or decision made at the moment of speaking:
--> It's very hot in here. I'll open the window.

b. Formation:
The Simple Future of any verb is formed from the auxiliary will or shall, followed by the bare infinitive of the verb.

In informal English, particularly in American English, the Simple Future is usually conjugated entirely with the auxiliary will. The auxiliary will is a modal auxiliary. Modal auxiliaries do not modify, but have the same form, regardless of the subject.

The auxiliary will is often contracted to 'll. Thus, in informal English, the Simple Future of the verb to work is usually conjugated as follows:

Without Contractions With Contractions
  I will work   I'll work
  you will work   you'll work
  he will work   he'll work
  she will work   she'll work
  it will work   it'll work
  we will work   we'll work
  they will work   they'll work

Verbs used with the subjects I and we are generally referred to as being in the first person; verbs used with the subject you are generally referred to as being in the second person; and verbs used with the subjects he, she, it and they are generally referred to as being in the third person.

For formal English, there is a rule which states that in the Simple Future, the auxiliary shall should be used in the first person, and the auxiliary will should be used in the second person and third person. Like the auxiliary will, the auxiliary shall is a modal auxiliary.

Thus, in formal English, the Simple Future of the verb to work may be conjugated as follows:

  I shall work
  you will work
  he will work
  she will work
  it will work
  we shall work
  they will work

Even in informal English, the auxiliary shall is usually used in the first person for questions in which a request for permission is implied.
e.g. Shall I call the office?
      Shall we go to the library?

However, the use of will for the first person of the Simple Future is beginning to be considered acceptable in formal English. Thus, except for questions where a request for permission is implied, either will or shall may be used for the first person of the Simple Future. In this chapter, the alternative use of the auxiliary shall in the first person will be indicated by the word shall in brackets.

The rules for the use of will and shall which apply to the Simple Future tense, also apply to the other future tenses.

c. Questions and negative statements
As is the case with other English tenses, questions and negative statements in the Simple Future are formed using the auxiliary.

Questions are formed by placing the auxiliary before the subject. For example:

Affirmative Statement Question
  It will work.   Will it work?
  They will work.   Will they work?

Negative statements are formed by placing the word not after the auxiliary. For example:

Affirmative Statement Negative Statement
  It will work.   It will not work.
  They will work.   They will not work.

In spoken English, the following contraction is often used:

Without Contraction With Contraction
  will not   won't

The contracted form of will not is unusual, since it is not only the o of not which is omitted. In addition, the ll of will is omitted, and the i of will is changed to o. The contracted form, won't, is pronounced to rhyme with don't.

In addition, shall not is sometimes contracted to shan't. However, the word shan't is rarely used in modern American English.

Negative questions are formed by placing the auxiliary before the subject, and the word not after the subject. However, when contractions are used, the contracted form of not immediately follows the auxiliary. The following are examples of negative questions with and without contractions:

Without Contractions With Contractions
  Will it not work?   Won't it work?
  Will they not work?   Won't they work?

Going to:

Going to is used to talk about a future intention when a decision has already been made:
--> They're going to meet us in the pub after the film.

Going to is used to talk about future predictions when there is evidence that something is going to happen:
--> Look at those clouds. It's going to rain.

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