Future 2 - GA13

Aspect and Tenses Course 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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In the previous Grammar Activation Packs I have introduced you to the present and the past tenses, along with the simple, continuous, and perfect aspects. I also mentioned that English has only the two tenses, present and past. This lesson looks at Will or Shall for Future, Asking for Decisions, Promises and Threats, Decisions Made at the Moment, Predicting, Conditionals, Giving Orders or Instructions, Negative Will for Refusals, Negative Shall for Refusals, things Not Rooted in Present, and Future Time Indicators. This British English grammar is essential for all students of English and the many exercises in the pack will help you master it quickly and enjoyably.    

Aspect and Tenses Course

Talking about the Future 2

Grammar Activation Pack 13

English has no Future!

In the previous Grammar Activation Packs I have introduced you to the present and the past tenses, along with the simple, continuous, and perfect aspects.

I also mentioned that English has only the two tenses, present and past.

So where does this leave us when we want to talk about the future?

Don’t worry, there are several ways that we can talk about the future, including using will and shall, which is what I am going to explain in this lesson.

Will or Shall for Future

There are two modal auxiliary verbs that we use to mark the future in English.

The first is will which we use with a bare infinitive, that is a verb without to.

The festivities will start next week.

The second is shall which we also use with a bare infinitive.

I shall teach you about the future over the next few pages.

Both of these statements are talking about future events.

Will and Shall

Using will or shall with a bare infinitive is the most common way to talk about the future.

Will and shall are commonly used for offers and requests, promises and threats, and for announcing our decisions.

Shall I do that for you?

I’ll see you tomorrow.

She’ll hit him if he keeps annoying her.

I shall be there, I promise.

Will expresses a willingness to do something or a wish for something.

Shall tends to be used to express an obligation.

Asking for Decisions

We normally use shall to ask for decisions or ask for instructions.

Shall I leave the door open?

Shall we watch a movie?

Let’s go to the cinema, shall we?

Now what shall we do?

What time shall we be there?

We do not use will in this way.

Promises and Threats

We use will in promises and threats.

I promise I’ll be there.

They will shoot you if you don’t put down the gun.

You will be fired if you keep being late.

Shall can also be used, but it is less common and sounds a bit old fashioned.

I shall see you this evening.

You shall go to the ball.

Decisions Made at the Moment

When we make a decision on the spur of the moment, we generally use will not shall.

If the doorbell rings, you might say, “I’ll get it.”

A. If you buy it today, there is a 50% discount on the full price.

B. Okay! I’ll take it!

A. And, for just €10 more you can have the deluxe version.

B. Deluxe, eh? Sure, why not? I’ll take the deluxe version, too.


Will plus bare infinitive is used to give predictions or to request information about the future.

It will be warmer in the next few weeks.

Will everyone be there?

When will the swallows arrive?

The swallows will arrive soon.

These Activation Packs will help hundreds of students improve their English.

When we have direct evidence or something is already planned, we don’t use will but use going to instead. See the next Grammar Activation Pack for details.


Will is used to say what will happen if something else happens.

You will be able to talk about the future if you study this Activation Pack.

If it doesn’t rain this afternoon, I’ll go for a bike ride.

If I see him, I’ll give him the message.

Will is used in first conditionals which talk about things which could well happen in the future. More about conditionals in a future Grammar Activation Pack.

Giving Orders or Instructions

We normally use will to give orders or instructions.

Will you please be quiet!

Will you stop interrupting me while I am interrupting you?

Bring me the latest figures, will you, Ann?

We do not use shall in this way.

Negative Will for Refusals

The negative of will is will not, often shortened to won’t in speech.

A. You will eat your peas! B. I won’t!

You won’t go to the cinema if you don’t do your homework.

We won’t have bases on the moon in my lifetime.

Won’t can also be used to form polite requests.

Won’t you sit here for a while?

Negative Shall for Refusals

The negative of shall is shall not, often shortened to shan’t in speech.

A. You shall eat your peas! B. I shan’t!

You shan’t go to the cinema if you don’t do your homework.

We shan’t have bases on the moon in my lifetime.

Shan’t is much less commonly used than won’t in modern English.

Not Rooted in Present

We use will to talk about future events which are not rooted in the present.

Do you think I will understand the movie?

Let’s hope the new secretary will be efficient.

Here we are not talking about the present, just the future. The sentences are not rooted in the present.

If things are rooted in the present, we prefer going to or the present continuous.

I’m going to the cinema tonight.

We’re getting a new secretary.

Here decisions already exist in the present so the sentences are rooted in the present.

Future Time Indicators

Will and shall can be used with the future time indicators such as at, on, in, next and this that we looked at in Grammar Activation Pack 12 – Future 1.

I will be there at 7.

We will start work on Monday.

We shall see in a week.

He will do it next week.

I will do it this week.

Aspect and Tenses

A comprehensive English course covering the tenses and aspects of English in an easy-to-understand format with lots of self-test exercises to check your understanding. You will learn all you need to know about the 3 Key Verbs of English: Be, Do, Have. This course will let you see just how simple English grammar is. We will explore the present simple, the past simple, the present continuous, the post continuous, the present perfect and the present perfect past and present, along with present perfect time markers, the present perfect continuous, the past perfect and the past perfect continuous.

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Past Continuous - GA5

I explained about the Key Verbs, be, do, and have and their inflected tenses in Grammar Activation Pack 1. I told you about the past tense, simple aspect in Grammar Activation Pack 3. I also explained the present tense, continuous aspect in Grammar Activation Pack 4. In this Grammar Activation Pack, I am going to tell you how the second of the key verbs, be, is used for the continuous aspect, past tense. This British English grammar is essential for all students of English and the many exercises in the pack will help you master it quickly and enjoyably.

Categories: Grammar

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Past Perfect - GA10

As you have already learnt, the past tense is indicted by the past forms of the three key verbs, do, be, and have. With do, the past is indicated by did for all persons. With be, the past is indicated by was for third persons, and were for all other persons. With have, the past is indicated by had for all persons. The past tense is shown by the inflected past form of the verb have, had, and this is used for all subjects. Past tense, perfect aspect is one of the least used of all the tense-aspect combinations in English. The past perfect has one main use and that it to talk about one thing that happened before another thing in the past. The past perfect basically talks about the past in the past. This British English grammar is essential for all students of English and the many exercises in the pack will help you master it quickly and enjoyably.    

1 Comment Categories: Grammar

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Past Perfect Continuous - GA11

Regular verbs form their past tense by adding ed. Irregular verbs have a past tense form that you must learn individually. Remember, too, that the continuous aspect of the past tense is marked by the auxiliary verb be plus the ing form of a verb. If you see the verb be followed by an ing form, it’s the continuous aspect. Verb to be plus ing! is really all you need to know to identify the continuous aspect. So, if had plus a past participle gives us the perfect aspect, and be +ing gives us the continuous aspect, then together we get the past tense, perfect continuous aspect. While it is easy to name the aspects and the tenses, what is less clear is how, when, and where we should use the past perfect continuous.     

Categories: Grammar

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