English has several forms that can refer to the future. Three of there are “will. Going to, and the present continuous”. The difference between them is not about near or distant future, or about certainty. The speakers choose a future form depending on when the decision was taken, and how the speakers see the future event.

a. Form

Subjects Verbs
I/ you/ we/ they/ he/ she/ it Will /(shall)

b. Use

– To express a future decision or intention made at the moment of speaking.

Ex: I will give you my phone number. I have left the door open; I will go and shut it. I am too tired to walk now; I think I will get a taxi.

– To express an offer.

Ex: I will carry your suitcase. Will you go with me? Will you open the door for me? We will do washing-up.

– It also expresses a future fact. The speaker thinks, “This action is sure to happen in the future”. This use like a neutral future tense. The speaker is predicting the future, without expressing an intention, plan, or personal.

Ex: tomorrow’s weather will be warm and sunny. It will rain. He will finish his work next month. It will be right. Don’t worry. If you go to Vietnam, you will see many interesting things there.

– “Will”: for a prediction can be based more on an opinion than a fact of evidence. It is often found with expression such as: “I think; I am sure…”

*Note: “Tobe going to”

a. Form

Subjects Tobe Verbs
I Am Going to + Vinf
He/ she/ it Is
You/ we/ they Are

b. Use

– To express a future decision, intention, or plan made before the moment of speaking.

Ex: how long are they going to stay in Vietnam? I am going to study harder for the test. I am going to write to Tom this evening. I know what you are going to say.

– When we can see or feel now hat something is certain to happen in the future, and based on present facts.

Ex: look at these clouds! It is going to rain. Watch out! The box is going to fall. Carefully, the car is going to come. She is going to have a baby.

– The present continuous can be used in a similar way for a plan of arrangement, particularly with the verbs “go, come”

Ex: she is coming on Friday. I am going home early tonight.

* The present continuous can be used to express a future

– Arrangement between people. It usually refers the near future.

Ex: we are going out with Tom tonight. What are we having for lunch?

– Think of the things you might put in your diary to remind you of what you are doing over the next few days and weeks. These are the kinds of events that are often expressed by the present continuous for the future. The verbs express some kinds of activity of movement.

Ex: I am meeting Peter tonight. I am seeing the doctor in the morning. We are going to party on Saturday night.

– Sometimes there is no difference between an agreed arrangement (present continuous) and an intension (going to).

Ex: we are going to get / are getting married in the spring.


a. Form: will/ shall + be + Ving

b. Use

– We use this tense for an action that we will be in the middle of.

Ex: in a week’s time, I’ll be lying in the sun. we will be having tea at 7o’clock.

– The future continuous expresses an activity that will be in progress before and after a time in the future.

Ex: don’t phone at 8:00. We will be having supper. This time tomorrow I will be flying to New York. This time tomorrow we will be working in this field. What will you be doing this time tomorrow?

– The future continuous is used to refer to a future event that will happen in the natural course of event. This use is uncoloured by ideas such as intention, decision, arrangement, or willingness. As time goes by, this event will occur.

Ex: don’t worry about our guests. They will be arriving any minute now. We will be going right back to the football after the break. (Said on television). I will be going to the centre later. Can I get you anything?

– We also use this tense for an action, which will result from a routine or arrangement.

Ex: I will be phoning my mother tonight. (It’s part of my regular routine). The Queen will be arriving soon. (It’s is part of her schedule)


a. Form: will/ shall + have + past participle (P2)

b. Use:

– The future perfect refers to an action that will be completed before a definite time in the future.

Ex: I will have done all my homework by this evening. I will have finished the book by the next week. By the end of the month, I will have been here for three years.

– To express an action will finish and relate to another action in the future.

Ex: the taxi will have arrived by the time you finish dressing. When we arrive, they will have had dinner. Before he leaves, I will have met him.

– We also use this tense to talk about something being over in the future.

Ex: I will have finished this book soon. (I’m nearly at the end). Tom won’t have completed his studies until he is 24.


a. Form: will/ shall + have + been + Ving

b. Use:

– To express an action that will be happening before another action in the future.

Ex: when I get my diplomat, I will have been learning at this school for 3 years. Mike is leaving next month; he will have been working here 20 years.

– We use this form when we imagine looking back from the future; it also focuses on the action going on. Ex: I will have been writing the report for a week.