Welcome to your Present Tenses for the Future lesson! In this topic we talk about:

• The Present Simple for the future. 

The Present Continuous for the future. 


The Present Simple for the future

We use the Present Simple for future events when we talk about schedules, timetables or programs. This could be for public transport, for TV guides, special dates on a calendar etc.:

What time does the plane land?

The film starts at 9:30.

Christmas is on a Tuesday this year.

This can also be extended to people’s schedule if it is fixed:

I start work at 8am on Thursday.

I finish my lessons at 4pm tomorrow.

For personal unique arrangements, it’s better to use the Present Continuous.


The Present Continuous for the future

Imagine it is Saturday, and in my diary it is written:

Monday: Go shopping at the market. 

Tuesday: Get a haircut. 

Wednesday: Take the car to the garage.

I have already planned to do these things, and these actions are unique (I don’t get a haircut every Tuesday) so I’ll use the Present Continuous when I talk about these future plans:

I‘m going shopping on Monday.

I‘m getting a haircut on Tuesday.

I‘m taking the car to the garage on Wednesday.

A few more examples of future sentences that use the Present Continuous:

What are you doing this afternoon? – I’m visiting the museum.

We‘re going to the cinema on Saturday.

They‘re eating at the new sushi restaurant tomorrow.

The Going to + Verb is also possible in these situations, but it sounds more natural to use the Present Continuous when talking about personal arrangements.

Do not use Will when talking about something you have planned to do:

Tonight we‘re eating out.
(not “Tonight we will eat out.”)

On the 10th we‘re going to Mauritius. 
(not “On the 10th we will go to Mauritius.”)

The present continuous can be used just before you do an action too. have a look at these examples:

I’m tired, I‘m going to bed. 
(not “I go to bed.”)

Wait, I‘m coming
(not “I come.”)


Recap

  • The Present Simple is used for fixed schedules.
  • The Present Continuous is used for unique events.
  • To talk about an action just before you do it, use the Present Continuous.

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