“Will” is a modal verb used to talk about the the future. “Will” has other uses as well but I’ve narrowed them down to uses that relate to the future.

Contents:

Form

Affirmative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “will” + base form of verb

Contracted form:

subject + “-‘ll” + base form of verb

  • “She‘ll have the orange juice.”
  • “I’ll book my tickets later.”
Negative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “will not” + base form of verb

Contracted form:

subject + “-‘ll not” + base form of verb

  • “The car won’t start.”
  • “I promise I won’t tell anyone.”
Questions 

Full forms:

(a) “will” + subject + base form of verb

(b) question word + “will” + subject + base form of verb

  • Will you help me with the groceries?”
  • Where will you go after this?”
Negative questions

It is possible to make negative questions even though their uses are quite specific. [See also: Negative questions]

The structure for full forms and contracted forms are slightly different. Contracted forms are preferred in general.

Contracted forms:

(a) “won’t” + subject + base form of verb

(b) question word + “won’t” + subject + base form of verb

Full forms:

(a) “will” + subject + “not” + base form of verb

(b) question word + “will” + subject + “not” + base form of verb

  • Won’t she be mad?”
  • Why will they not help her apply for a new job?”

Timeline

Although the future simple tense is used to refer to plans in the future, this tense is used when a decision is made at the time of speaking. This occurs before you do or plan to do something.


Uses of the Future simple tense

1.   When you spontaneously decide to do something at the time of speaking.
  • “I think I‘ll book my tickets this afternoon.”
  • “I‘ll boil some water for the tea.”

* Please note: If you already made a decision before the time of speaking, then “going to” should be used instead. [See also: Future: Be going to]

2.   To make predictions.
  • Who do you think will win the competition?”
    • “Wally will probably come in third.”
  • “I’m sure you‘ll get your results back before the flight.”

* Please note: 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. [See also: Differences: Be going to or Will]

  • “I think the weather will be nice later.”
  • “I think the weather is going to be nice later.” 
3.   To refer to future facts or events in the future that are certain.
  • “The sun will rise tomorrow.”
  • “I‘ll turn 35 next month.”
  • “Because of the delays, the project won’t be finished by the end of the year.”

* Please note: This is quite different from predictions. Context clues will help distinguish between the different uses.

  • “Because I’m the organiser, there won’t be any alcohol at the party.”
    The “organiser” can confirm there is no alcohol.
  • “It’s possible there won’t be any alcohol at the party.”
    “It’s possible” indicates this is a guess.
  • 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.”

    Original post: 14 October 2020

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