Verb tenses: future mixed


Where are you going to go this summer? - Para onde você vai neste verão? I'm meeting some friends this evening. - Vou encontrar alguns amigos esta noite. I will sell it to my friend. - Eu vou vender para o meu amigo.

To express the future, we use different tenses and structures depending on the situation. It can be quite complicated deciding which to use. Don't worry about it too much. Usually you will be understood. However, the following rules will be helpful if you want to sound more natural or pass an English exam.

Will + verb

Are you ready to order? - Yes, I will have the steak.

When to use: Will is used to talk about future events for:

  • Instant/spontaneous decisions (you didn’t think about it before, you have just made the decision), e.g. This dress looks nice. I think I’ll buy it.
  • Promises, e.g. I will never do it again! I promise.
  • Offers, e.g. The bag looks heavy. I’ll carry it for you.
  • Predictions (to express our opinion when there is no clear evidence right now, especially with phrases like I think, I believe, I suppose), e.g. I think you will like my sister.
  • Future facts (not plans), e.g. He will be 50 next week.

Be going to + verb

I am going to travel around the world when I finish my studies.

When to use: This structure is used to talk about future events in the following situations:

  • future plans and intentions made before the moment of speaking, e.g. I'm going to buy a new car next month.
  • predictions (when there is clear present evidence of a future event), e.g. The man is walking on the wet floor. He is going to fall over.

Be + verb + ing

I am meeting Tom at 5:00 tomorrow.

When to use: Present Continuous is used to talk about the future in the following cases:

  • arrangements (usually you know exactly when and where something will be), e.g. I'm meeting my brother tomorrow afternoon.
  • often in questions like What are you doing tonight/at the weekend?
  • usually with verbs relating to travel arrangements, e.g. go, come, arrive, leave etc. Sentences like 'I am going to go to the cinema tomorrow' are possible but rare, e.g.:
    • When are you leaving?
    • We are going to a party next week.
Further learning
Description Author Language
5 common ways to talk about the future. BBC Learning