4 Ways to Express the Future in English

Most students first learn to make a sentence about the future using the verb tense called the future simple.  For example, they may want to first say to their teacher: I will do my homework.  (That is music to a teacher’s ear’s, by the way.)

Future simple is: “will” + “root of a verb”.  For example:  will be, will take. 

Future simple in the negative form is:  “will” + “not” + “root of a verb” OR “won’t” + “the root of a verb”.

For example: will not be and will not take OR won’t be and won’t take

It is perhaps the easiest verb form in English as both the positive and negative forms are the same for all persons.

However, if you used the future simple every time you wanted to speak about the future, you would be wrong. 

Yes, my apologies.  It’s not that simple.  There are actually at least 6 verb tenses that you can use to express the future. And native speakers use them on a daily basis.


Here is a chart with the 4 most important verb tenses used to express the future in English. 

It includes:

  1. the verb tense
  2. the rule when to use the verb tense
  3. an example sentence
  4. and a blank for you to create your own sentence that applies each specific rule

The 4 verb tenses are:

  • the present simple
  • the present continuous
  • going to + “the root of the verb” and finally…
  • the future simple
B2 TBS Future Rules & Quick Exercise

If you’d like, print out this page and submit your answers for the sentences you’ve created yourself for some free feedback, please send to: info@thebostonschool.com.