Simple future tense

Functions of the simple future tense

The simple future refers to a time later than now, and expresses facts or certainty. In this case there is no 'attitude'.

The simple future is used:

  • To predict a future event:
    It will rain tomorrow.
  • With I or We, to express a spontaneous decision:
    I'll pay for the tickets by credit card.
  • To express willingness:
    I'll do the washing-up.
    He'll carry your bag for you.
  • In the negative form, to express unwillingness:
    The baby won't eat his soup.
    I won't leave until I've seen the manager!
  • With I in the interrogative form using "shall", to make an offer:
    Shall I open the window?
  • With we in the interrogative form using "shall", to make a suggestion:
    Shall we go to the cinema tonight?
  • With I in the interrogative form using "shall", to ask for advice or instructions:
    What shall I tell the boss about this money?
  • With you, to give orders:
    You will do exactly as I say.
  • With you in the interrogative form, to give an invitation:
    Will you come to the dance with me?
    Will you marry me?

Note:In modern English will is preferred to shall. Shall is mainly used with I and we to make an offer or suggestion, or to ask for advice (see examples above). With the other persons (you, he, she, they) shall is only used in literary or poetic situations, e.g. "With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes."

Forming the simple future

The simple future tense is composed of two parts: will / shall + the infinitive without to

Subject will infinitive without to
I will go
I shall go
They will not see
They won't see
Will she ask?
Interrogative negative
Won't they try?

I will = I'll
We will = we'll
You will = you'll
He will = he'll
She will = she'll
They will = they'll
Will not = won't

The form "it will" is not normally shortened.

To see: Simple future tense

Affirmative Negative Interrogative Interrogative Negative
I will see I won't see Will I see? Won't I see?
*I shall see   *Shall I see?  
You will see You won't see Will you see? Won't you see?
He will see He won't see Will he see? Won't he see?
We will see We won't see Will we see? Won't we see?
*We shall see   *Shall we see?  
They will see They won't see Will they see? Won't they see?

*Shall is dated, but it is still commonly used instead of "will" with the affirmative or interrogative forms of I and we in certain cases (see above).