Glossary: future

Explanation

Future time can be expressed in many different ways in English, but English does not have a future tense.

Reference to future time can be marked in a number of different ways in English. All these ways involve the use of a present tense verb. See also tense. Unlike many other languages (such as French, Spanish or Italian), English has no distinct ‘future tense’ form of the verb comparable with its present and past tenses.

  • He will leave tomorrow. [present-tense will followed by infinitive leave]
  • He may leave tomorrow. [present-tense may followed by infinitive leave]
  • He leaves tomorrow. [present-tense leaves]
  • He is going to leave tomorrow. [present tense is followed by going to plus the infinitive leave]
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