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Step by step English grammar! Verbs ~ Future tense

Simple grammar - Verbs in the future tense

There are 2 common ways to talk about future action.

I'll play tennis tomorrow.
*I’ll is a contraction of ‘I will.’ Contractions are often used in spoken English.
I'm playing tennis tomorrow.

They are saying the same thing, but there is a small nuance that determines if we use I will or I am doing in natural English.

           Click the word to check pronunciation.
nuance noun a very slight difference that is hard to notice.
“A great chef is aware of every nuance of flavor in their food.”

Let me explain this slight difference with 2 more examples. 

① Andrew: Henry is struggling with his current assignment. 
Brad: I have some free time so I'll help him after lunch.

② Kevin: I'm helping Henry move next Saturday. He asked a few of us at work yesterday and I said yes.

Example 1 uses I'll help and example 2 uses I'm helping

There is a small difference between these 2 examples that is hard to see. Can you find it?

Hint: When did the person in the first example decide to help Henry? When did the person in the second example decide to help Henry?

① In the first example Brad just found out about Henry's trouble, then he decided to help Henry as he was speaking

 In the second example, Henry asked Kevin yesterday if he could help him move, and Kevin said ‘yes.’ Kevin has already decided to help, this is a planned activity.

If a future action has just been decided at the time of speaking we use “I will.

It's starting to rain. I'll go upstairs and shut the windows in our bedroom. (This action was decided at the time of speaking.)

I have some free time so I'll help him after lunch. (Brad just found out about Henry's trouble, he decided to help Henry as he was speaking.) 

If a future action has already been decided or planned we use “I am doing.

I'm having a barbeque party next weekend, I hope it doesn't rain. (The decision to have a party was made before the time of speaking.)

I'm helping Henry move next Saturday. (Henry asked Kevin yesterday if he could help him move, and Kevin said ‘yes.’ This is a planned activity.)

I'm helping Henry move next Saturday.
Lisa is strong so she will carry the heavy boxes!

More explanations with examples.

① Will

Will is an easy way to make the future tense of a verb, so it's common among many of the ESL students that I have taught. Just put the word will in front of your verb and now you're talking about the future. As we saw above will is not always the best choice to talk about the future so be careful. Below are some natural ways we use will.

*In conversation the contraction I’ll, he’ll, she’ll etc. is more common. I have used contractions for the examples in this section.

It’s common to use will after the phrase “I think…” 

It’s a nice day today, I think I’ll ride my bike to work.

I think Wendy will be late for the morning meeting, she's stuck in traffic. 

English verbs future tense
I think she'll be stuck for at least an hour!


Math is hard, I’ll help you with your homework after dinner.

If you need a hand to pack your things before the moving van comes we’ll come over and help you tonight.


Mom: Can you clean up the dishes after dinner?
Son: Sure, I’ll do it right after dessert.


Daughter: Dad can you come to my school band performance this Friday after work?
Dad: Absolutely! I’ll be there in the front row!

The negative form - won’t - is also common when we promise NOT to do something in the future.

Paul is so rude! We won’t invite him to any more of our parties.

You can trust me, I won’t tell anyone your secret.

English verbs future tense
Your secret is safe with me.

When you ask someone to do something will is the natural fit.

Will you help me with this?

Will you carry a few of these boxes for me?

And when you ask someone about a future situation.

Will you be there on Sunday?

Will it rain tomorrow? 

② I am doing...

As we learned in the first example, I’m doing is used for planned activities, actions we have already decided to take.

I’m watching TV all weekend, it’s been a long week.

I’m watching TV all weekend, it’s been a long week.

I'm going to watch TV for 18 hours straight!

The grammar going to (verb) is also natural in English.

I’m going to watch TV all weekend, it’s been a long week.

Jill’s going to meet her college friend on Saturday.

My wife and I are going to look at houses tonight after work.

We were going to play hockey on Saturday but the arena is closed for repairs.

More great posts about 
English verb tenses!

Now with VIDEO!

Includes a list of the 50 most common irregular verbs in English with 50 example sentences!

Autumn or Fall? Advanced English Study!

In English, the names of the 4 seasons are:

By National Aeronautics and Space Agency [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn.

Now it's Fall, I mean Autumn. Wait, why does our current season have 2 names, Autumn and Fall? That's a good question! Here is what I found out.
🍂The word Autumn, like many English words, has come from other languages. Autumn came from Old French and Latin. According to the article: 

🗣Why Do We Call the Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter?
“Autumn,” meanwhile, came to English via the Old French autompne, from the Latin autumnus.
So where did 'Fall' come from? According to some answers I found on Quora:

🗣What's the difference between "fall" and "autumn"? Is there any difference between the two words?
Americans call the period from September to November “fall” because in America, that’s when the leaves of deciduous trees turn yellow and then fall off.
So Fall is used mainly in North America, but not really in England. I'm Canadian so I often use Fall but in England, the leaves stay on the trees until December so Autumn is the natural choice. In Japan, my current home, the leaves stay on the trees much later due to the weather.

I thought this was interesting! All languages are interesting to me. Here is more info on English season names from


Before Spring was called Spring, it was called Lent in Old English. Starting in the 14th century, that time of year was called “springing time”—a reference to plants “springing” from the ground. In the 15th century this got shortened to “spring-time,” and then further shortened in the 16th century to just “spring.” 
1 way to change an adjective to a verb is by adding the suffix ~en. In this quote, the word "shortened" is the past tense form of the verb shorten. It means to make something shorter, this is the verb form of the adjective short.
More on adjectives becoming verbs here: Link

Plants "springing" from the ground
Original source:
“no copyright infringement is intended”


 “Summer” came from the Old English name for that time of year, sumor. This, in turn, came from the Proto-Germanic sumur-, which itself came from the Proto-Indo-European root sam- (sam- seems to be a variant of the Proto-Indo-European sem-, meaning “together / one").
Proto means - original; from which others develop. 
A prototype is the first design of something from which other forms are copied or developed
Proto-Germanic is the original form of the German language.
Proto-Indo-European is an ancient language on which all Indo-European languages are thought to be based. *The origin of modern Indian and European languages.


“Winter,” meanwhile, derives from the Proto-Germanic wentruz. This, in turn, probably comes from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) wed, meaning “wet,” or it may come from the PIE wind-, meaning “white.”  Either way, the Proto-Germanic wentruz gave rise to the Old English “winter” as the fourth season of the year, and the name for the season has stuck around ever since.

give rise to something
(formal) to cause something to happen or exist
...the Proto-Germanic wentruz gave rise to the Old English “winter”...

~ The use of the Proto-Germanic word wentruz caused the word winter to be used in Old English.

Click below and learn to use the 
passive voice in English!⇩

English grammar resource
My best grammar posts in 1 place!
🖰Click below🠋

Natural English conversation - Use TURN instead of BECOME

🍂This season leaves will become yellow, orange and red. The leaves change color. They will turn yellow, orange and red.

Natural English conversation - Use TURN instead of BECOME

In English conversation, we often use the word turn instead of become. Here are a few common examples:

“Brian will turn 35 next month.” (become 35 years old)

turn means become

“My red sock got washed with my white shirts by accident! My white clothes have all turned pink!!!” (My white clothes have all become pink!)

In the examples above, the subjects changed something, color or age, but they didn't change what they were. Brian is still Brian, he is just one year older. My clothes are still clothes, but they are pink now.

If one thing becomes something else, we can say turn to or turn into. Please look at the following examples:

"If you leave water in the freezer it will turn to ice." (Water will become ice.)

"My niece Grace has turned into a beautiful young lady." (My sister's daughter has changed from a girl to a lady. This is a common way to express that a young person has grown up. They have become an adult.)

Learn 50 common English phrasal verbs! + Lots of real examples!

📚 Learn  50 common English phrasal verbs  What is a phrasal verb? ~ In English, a phrasal verb is a combination (mixture) of ...

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