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Future Tense

Future tense is a tense expressing an action that has not yet happened or a state that does not yet exist. Other future tenses, like future perfect, focus more on specifics of upcoming events. The language is more literal and specific.

Using grammar to predict the future

As you can probably tell by its name, the future tense is a grammatical construction that is used to talk about the future. In English, though, this can get somewhat tricky. Unlike in other languages, the verbs themselves don't change in the future tense; what changes is the way the verbs are linked with other words. 

The most common construction of the English future tense consists of using the word "will" in conjunction with the base form of a verb. However, the word "shall" can also serve the same purpose, as can the phrase "am/are going to". When it comes to the future tense, then, you've got a couple options.   

Examples of future tense

Here is an example of the future tense being used correctly in a sentence. 

"Tomorrow, we are going to visit the zoo in order to catch the new dolphin exhibit that everyone has been talking about." 

In this sentence, "are going to visit" is a correct construction of the future tense. 

Now, here is an example of the future tense being used incorrectly within a sentence. 

"The man said that he will going to the party, even though he was aware that he had only been invited by accident."

The correct future tense construction here would be "will go", not "will going". 

Here are a couple basic rules you can keep in mind when trying to use the future tense. 

  1. When you're using the future tense, the main verb always stays in its base form. For example, you may say that you will eat, or that you will sleep, or that you will be happy. In all these cases, the main verb (eat, sleep, be) doesn't change. You just add the "will" before the base form to make the construction the future tense. 
  2. The same is also true if you're using other words forms such as "shall" or "am/are going to". In both of these cases, the future tense requires that the verb being used be kept in its base form. In this sense, the future tense is very simple to use: it is difficult to get the constructions wrong, once you get the basic hang of things. 

Future Tense - Further reading

The future tense is the simplest way of talking about the future. Its main purpose is to express a plan, expectation, or intention of some kind. The nature of the future tense is such that it is not concerned with the duration of an event, or the experience people may have of that event. Rather, the only important point is the basic fact that the event will in fact happen. For example, using the future tense, you may say that it will rain tomorrow; you will not say, though, that it will have rained eight inches by tomorrow.  

In sociology research writing, the main use of the future tense may be to develop some idea of how other people are likely to behave, so that one can alter and/or coordinate one's own actions accordingly. For example, if you know that the stranger will be angry if you talk to his girlfriend, then you can use this expectation in order to make a decision about your intended course of action. Likewise, others can formulate expectations about you by using the future tense, and thereby make their own decisions accordingly. 

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