Britlish

Talk About the Future

English in Use | Phrasal Verbs | Grammar

English in Use

The Activities categorised as English in Use look at the way we use English in everyday life. The Activities cover the actual use of English and examine grammar, punctuation, and functionality of the language. For any student studying English as a second language or English as a foreign language, English in Use Activities are particularly useful for improving speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. These Activities will help you to develop your confidence in using different types of text such as fiction, newspapers and magazines, as well as learning to speak and write about things such as the weather and travel, as well as preparing you for typical situations such as ordering in a restaurant or buying a train ticket.

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are like idioms and have to be learnt individually. They are an essential part of your English vocabulary, and without them you will not be able to say that you have any degree of fluency in English. These Activities have been designed to make learning, remembering, and using phrasal verbs as easy and enjoyable as possible. English speakers use phrasal verbs all the time, so you need to at least be able to understand what they mean. Use them yourself and you will sound much more like a native speaker and your English will sound much more natural.

Grammar

These Activities focus on the grammar of English. English grammar compared to other grammars is quite simple, but in its simplicity lies its complexity. The Activities here cover all aspects of English grammar from the aspects and tenses to sentence structures. English grammar covers the structure of words, phrases, clauses, sentences, and entire texts. There are eight parts of speech in English: nouns, determiners, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. The largest of these parts of speech are the nouns which, unlike most European languages, do not have grammatical gender. English grammar has largely done away with the inflectional case system of other European languages and bases its grammar on analytic constructions. The Activities in this category will go some way to helping you get a better understanding of English grammar.    

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If you could predict the future with 100% accuracy, you would be the richest person on the planet. It is the uncertainty of the future which dictates how we talk about it. There are four common ways to talk about the future in English, and it is the purpose of this English Activation Pack to show you how to talk about the future accurately. We will explore the use of will and other modal verbs, going to, the present continuous, and the present simple to talk about the future. You will find an Activation Quiz and an Activation Glossary to help you activate your future English. If you are ready to activate your English to talk about the future, do this lesson now.

An Uncertain Future If you could predict the future with 100% accuracy, you would be the richest person on the planet. It is the uncertainty of the future which dictates how we talk about it. There are four common ways to talk about the future in English, and it is the purpose of this English Activation Pack to show you how to talk about the future accurately. We will explore the use of will and other modal verbs, going to, the present continuous, and the present simple to talk about the future. You will find an Activation Quiz and an Activation Glossary to help you activate your future English. If you are ready to activate your English to talk about the future, read on. Auxiliary verbs Most languages conjugate verbs to show the future tense. English makes use of modal auxiliary verbs to show tense and aspect. Every sentence in English has an auxiliary verb in it, even if we don't immediately see it, as in the present simple use of do.  I understand that there is an auxiliary in all English sentences. Here we have the present simple, but the auxiliary verb, do, is hidden. I call this the hidden do. The auxiliary verb do shows itself if we form a question: Do I understand that there is an auxiliary in all English sentences? I do understand that there is an auxiliary in all English sentences. Read the Activation Glossary to learn more about tense and aspect. Will Just as we use an auxiliary verb in every English sentence, we use an auxiliary to talk about the future. The auxiliary we use to talk about the future is will. I did write this English Activation Pack. (past simple tense – auxiliary do) I do write English Activation Packs. (present simple tense – auxiliary do) I will write more English Activation Packs. (future simple tense – auxiliary will) Simple future If we have not already made a plan or a decision about the future, we generally use the simple future tense which uses will. We use will when we make a spontaneous decision, that is, when we have not planned to do an action until the moment we speak. You are at home with your partner when someone knocks on the door. The visit was not planned or expected, so the decision to answer the door will be spontaneous: I’ll get the door. I’ll see who it is. Evidence One way to decide between using will and going to to talk about the future is to see if you have any evidence. When we have evidence, we use going to not will. Evidence is your basis for belief or disbelief that something will happen in the future. For instance, if you see a woman who is obviously pregnant, you have evidence that a baby will be born some time in the future. That woman is going to have a baby. More Evidence You wake up in the morning and you look out the window. You see that the sky is full of dark storm clouds. You know from experience that dark storm clouds mean rain. You make a prediction based on the evidence. I think it’s going to rain. It may not rain, of course, we can never be 100% certain about the future, but the evidence you have strongly suggests that it is going to rain. What is evidence? It is useful to think in terms of evidence to decide whether to use will or going to to talk about the future. We have seen that evidence such as pregnancy or dark cloudy skies can be good predictors of the future. Having a train ticket booked can be evidence of a future event, too. I’m going to London on the train next week. Negative evidence It is useful to think in terms of evidence to decide whether to use will or going to to talk about the future. We can also use evidence to say that something is not going to happen. Your alarm clock fails to go off in the morning and your plane leaves in half and hour. I’m not going to catch the plane and I am going to miss an important meeting.  The evidence here, the 30 minutes to departure and the fact you are still in bed, an hour from the airport, suggests you are not going to catch the plane. No Evidence Where we have no evidence to make a prediction about the future, we usually use will to make the prediction. You have not made any plans for the weekend, and thus you have no evidence to use to make a prediction. I’ll watch tv or read a book. I haven’t decided yet. I’ll see what I feel like doing on the day. I’ll probably just have another boring weekend alone. Will and Going to Very often, will and going to are used interchangeably with little difference in meaning. I think I’m going to see a movie tonight. I think I’ll see a movie tonight. Both of these are fine, because you haven’t really made a decision. We might say that the going to implies a more definite possibility, but both lack certainty. If, however, you have bought tickets to see a movie at the cinema, you have concrete evidence, the tickets, and should use going to. I’m going to see that new movie tonight. Intentions with going to When we have formed an intention to do something, we generally use going to, but can use will, depending on the certainty of our intention. I just won a million on the lottery. I’m going to buy myself a new house. This intention is pretty certain. You have probably wanted a new house for a long time now. I just won a million on the lottery. I think I will buy myself a new house. Hey, you just won a million and can do what you want. You may buy a new house or you may not. Be has its own rules The verb be is the most important verb in English, and this is why it is the most complex: am, is, are, was, were, be, been, being. No other English verb has so many forms. When we use be in a sentence, we can use will to talk about the future, even when we have evidence that something is going to happen. I will be in London next week. We will be there at six o’clock. There will be about 100 people at the conference. The bees will be busy bees all summer long. You can also use going to instead of will in all the above examples. Present continuous We normally use the present tense (am, is, are) and the continuous aspect (-ing) to talk about things that are happening now. You are listening to me reading this to you. We can also use the present continuous to talk about the future. We often use a time expression to clarify that we are talking about the future. I am cooking salmon. (now or around this time) I am cooking salmon tonight. (future) Intentions or plans We can use the present tense (am, is, are) and continuous aspect (-ing) or going to to talk about both intentions and plans with no real difference of meaning. I’m going to make a new English Activation Pack every week. This is an intention which I have already decided on and it uses going to. I am making a new English Activation Pack this week and every week. This is a plan and uses the present continuous. My plan is to help as many students around the world as possible activate their English skills. Unchangeable situations When a plan has been made and it will be difficult or even impossible to change it or to cancel it, we use the present continuous to talk about it. Weddings are usually planned far in advance, and due to the number of people invited and the expense, wedding plans are difficult to change. She is getting married in July. They are getting married at the end of summer. We are getting married next week. Present simple The present simple is used to talk about things that are always true. Schedules are always true. My plane leaves at 9. The train arrives just before midnight. The movie begins at seven, so don’t be late. The park closes at 6pm. There are a number of verbs which are used in this way to talk about the future, including arrive, leave, start, finish, end, and close. Pronunciation of will Will is often contracted in spoken English. I’ll see you later. Because it’s obvious who we are speaking to, we may lose the I’ll altogether: See you later. An English joke relies for its humour on the pronunciation feature of the weak contracted will. A. Where’s your friend from? B. Alaska. A. No, I’ll ask her myself. Pronunciation of going to Going to is often heard as gonna in normal fast spoken English, but you should never write it as gonna. She’s going to fall off that ladder in those shoes. Other phrases like gonna are found with the modals would, should, and could. He would have told me. I should have known. I could have made it. We also get the same pronunciation feature with want to be which gives us the word wannabe as in I want to be famous. Modals Modal verbs like shall, should, may, might, and could are used to talk about the future because they express uncertainty. We should have some wonderful flowers this year. The crop may be late. We might not get them picked until tomorrow. With a bit of luck, I could be a millionaire by this time next year. You shall go to the ball. 

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