One of the most common ways to talk about the future is with will, for example: I will call you tonight. We often call this the "future simple tense", but technically there are no future tenses in English. In this construction, the word will is a modal auxiliary verb.
Here are the three main ways that we use will to talk about the future.
We use will when there is no prior plan or decision to do something before we speak. We make the decision at the time of speaking. Look at these examples:
- Hold on. I'll get a pen.
- We will see what we can do to help you.
- Maybe we'll stay in and watch television tonight.
In these examples, we had no firm plan before speaking. The decision was made at the time of speaking.
We often use will with the verb think:
- I think I'll go to the gym tomorrow.
- I think I'll have a holiday next year.
- I don't think I'll buy that car.
We often use will to make a prediction about the future. Again, there is no firm plan. We are saying what we think will happen. Here are some examples:
- It will rain tomorrow.
- People won't go to Jupiter before the 22nd century.
- Who do you think will get the job?
The verb be is an exception with will. Even when we have a very firm plan, and we are not speaking spontaneously, we can use will with be. Look at these examples:
- I will be in London tomorrow.
- There will be 50 people at the party.
- The meeting will be at 9.30 am.