Practice Forming the Future Tense

The future tense has several forms in English. The two main forms are:

  • will+ (base form of) verb,
  • be + going to + verb
young man thinking about his future

In casual conversation we also use be + going without a verb, especially when we are talking about the near future.  (An example would be “He’s going to the fair next week.”)

We sometimes talk about the future using plan, hope, want, or need with another verb infinitive:

  • I plan to go.
  • He wants to study at MIT.
  • You need to get better grades!

The most formal future tense form is ‘will.’ (It can also be used casually, usually shortened to a contraction: a pronoun + ‘ll: “I’ll go; she’ll stay here.”) ‘Will’ is a modal verb: it never changes form and is not used alone, but with another verb in the base form. The negative is ‘will not’ or (much more commonly) ‘won’t.’ For a more complete explanation and examples, see Modal Verbs.

Examples of ways to talk about the future:

--Jim’s goal is to become a doctor. He wants to be accepted by a good university next year. He will study there four years to get an undergraduate degree. Then he is going to apply to a good med school. After studying another four years, he hopes to get an internship in internal medicine. It will probably take him 10 years or more to finally become a doctor, but he thinks it will be worth it.

--I’m going shopping in a few minutes. Do you want to come?

--Mary is taking her kids to the beach Saturday. She’s going to pack a picnic lunch. They’ll spend all day.

Practice forming the future tense

Choose the correct form from the pair in the parentheses. (If you would rather print this as a pdf and work off-line, you can right-click here to download it.)

Example: (We’re/We) going to my sister’s house for dinner tonight.

1. Sarah and I (are/am) going to take a yoga class next year.

2. Sarah says the yoga will (make/makes) us more flexible.

3. She says it (will/wills) also provide mental health benefits by reducing stress.

4. We’re going (do/to do) exercises every morning at sunrise.

5. “It (will/going to) be beautiful,” she told me. “And just think how much energy we’ll have!”


6. My New Year’s Resolution is to eat more green vegetables. (I’ll/ I) try to eat at least two servings a day for the next month.

7. I’m (going/going to) learn new ways to prepare them: different salads, stir frying, steaming, and green smoothies.

8. I won’t make a resolution about losing weight this year. I’m (going/going to) eat healthier instead.

8. What (will/going to) your New Year’s Resolution be?

9. Are you (will/going to) make more than one resolution?

10. Don’t make too many, or (they’ll/they) be hard to keep!

Click here for Future Tense Practice Answers.

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