English Lesson & Quiz: Present & Present Progressive for the Future

The flight departs at 7:00

My cousin Sam is getting married soon. Everyone in my family is looking forward to the wedding. She is having a black and white theme for her wedding, so I’m going to wear a tuxedo. The wedding reception starts at 9:00pm, so I booked a hotel room for the night. The hotel told me that check-in begins at 2:00, so I’m going to check in before the wedding.

We can use the present tense and present progressive tense to talk about the future. Do you know how to use these tenses? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check your understanding with the quiz at the end of the lesson.

Rule #1: We use the present progressive tense for the future when we talk about something we have already made plans or arrangement to do. Remember, the structure of the present progressive is Be Verb + Verb-ING:

  • My cousin Sam is getting married soon.
  • She is having a black and white theme for her wedding.
  • I am going to wear a tuxedo to the wedding.

Rule #2: We also use the simple present tense for the future when we talk about schedules, timetables, and future events that have a fixed starting or ending time:

  • The wedding reception starts at 9:00pm.
  • The hotel told me that check-in begins at 2:00
  • The flight to Boston departs at noon.

Rule #3 We can also use the simple present tense for fixed plans and arrangements, generally when we talk about work, school, and other habitual events that have a fixed schedule:

  • What time do you finish work tonight?
  • When does your new aerobics class start?
  • The new coffee shop in town opens tomorrow.

Rule #4: But, we usually use present progressive for personal plans and arrangements made for pleasure:

  • Jen and Chris are going to the movies tonight.
  • I heard Matt is meeting Katie after work tonight.
  • I’m taking a nap this afternoon.

How did you do? Now, check your understanding with this quiz:

[mtouchquiz 9]



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English Lesson: Using Will for Promises & Decisions

She said, “I will love you forever.” When he heard her words he said, “I will be by your side until the end of time.” I’ll tell you something. Such language from romantic movies always sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Today let’s look at two ways to use will. One way is for promises and the other is when we decide to do something at the time of speaking. Do you know how to use will in these ways? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson:

We use will when we make a serious promise to someone, like this:

  • I will love you forever.
  • I will be by your side until the end of time.
  • I will work hard on this project until its successful finish.

We also use will when we decide something at the same moment we are speaking.

  • When the phone rings in the office, and you decide at that moment to answer the phone, you can say, “I’ll get it.”
  • When you hear someone ring the doorbell, and you decide at that moment to open the door, you can say, “I’ll answer the door.”
  • When the teacher asks the class, “Who wants to give their speech first?” you can say, “I’ll go first.”

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  • How to USE the phrasal verb.
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  • A PRACTICE question to give you the chance to use the phrasal verb.

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English Lesson: “Will” and “Be going to”

A friend of mine is going to get married this weekend and I have been thinking about what I’m going to wear. If it is going to be hot and humid, I don’t really want to wear a suite. However, it is a wedding so I guess I don’t have a choice. Maybe I’ll wear my tuxedo! After the wedding, they are going to go to Hawaii for their honeymoon. I am sure they will have a good time.

Today we are going to look at some ways to talk about the future in English. Do you know how to do that? Take a look at the paragraph above and then have a look at today’s lesson.

When we talk about the future, we use will and be going to. In general, we use will for the far future, and/or when there is not a definite plan:

  • Someday, I will find true love….
  • I think I will move to Florida when I retire.
  • Maybe I‘ll wear my tuxedo

Since will is used when there is not a definite plan, we can use maybe with will

Brad: What are you doing this weekend?
Angelina: I don’t know. Maybe I will clean the garage if it’s not too hot out.

We use be going to for the near future, and/or when there is a definite plan:

  • A friend of mine is going to get married this weekend
  • I am going to go to the beach this weekend.
  • Jenny is going to see a movie tonight.

In some cultures, maybe is used to soften a statement in order to make it seem less direct. In American English, we do not use maybe this way. Be careful! It sounds strange to use maybe with be going to:

Tommy: What are you going to do this weekend?
Johnny: Maybe I am going to go to the movies with Betty. This sounds strange.

When we make a prediction (or guess) about something the future, we can use either will or be going to:

  • The weatherman says it will rain all day tomorrow.
    The weatherman says it is going to rain all day tomorrow.
  • Don’t hold that knife like that. You will hurt yourself.
    Don’t hold that knife like that. You are going to hurt yourself.

When we are willing to or offer to do something we use will:

  • The phone is ringing. I will get it. (OR) I‘ll get it. (I did not have a plan to answer the phone, but it is ringing and so I am willing and offering to answer it.)
  • I am sure the doctor will give you a prescription for that cough. (I am sure the doctor is willing to give you a prescription)

Note that we do not use be going to when we express our willingness or offer.