What should we know about Future-in-the-Past
Future-in-the-Past in Reported Speech
- When the reporting verb is in the Past Tense we change the Future Tense into the Future-in-the-Past.
- To make the Future-in-the-Past the auxiliary verb would is used instead of will.
Two Forms of Future-in-the-Past
Like Simple Future, Future-in-the-Past has two different forms in English: would and was going to. Although the two forms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often express two different meanings: I knew you would pass the exam. I knew you were going to take an exam.
What is Future-in-the-Past?
Future-in-the-Past is used to express the idea that in the past you thought something would happen in the future. It does not matter if you are correct or not. Future-in-the-Past follows the same basic rules as the Simple Future. “Would” is used to volunteer or promise, and “was going to” is used to plan. Moreover, both forms can be used to make predictions about the future.
- He told me he was going to come to the concert. (plan)
- I knew granny would make breakfast. (voluntary action)
- My friend said he was going to bring his sister with him. (plan)
- I had a feeling that the vacation was going to be a fantastic adventure. (prediction)
- Jane promised she would send an email from Ireland. (promise)
We do not use Future in time clauses. Like all future forms, Future-in-the-Past cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of using Future-in-the-Past, you must use Simple Past.
- Jane told Sam that when he would arrive, we would take part in the festive concert. Not Correct
- Jane told Sam that when he arrived, we would take part in the festive concert. Correct
Future Simple – Future Simple in the Past
- I know that my friends will arrive soon. – I knew that my friends would arrive soon.
- I hope I won’t miss my train. – I hoped I wouldn’t miss my train.
Future Continuous – Future Continuous in the Past
- I think it will be raining all day long. – I thought it would be raining all day long.
- Emma believes she will be preparing for the exam from five to eight. – Emma believed she would be preparing for the exam from five to eight.
Future Perfect – Future Perfect in the Past
- I expect that George will have done his work by seven o’clock. – I expected that George would have done his work by seven o’clock.
- We hope that the performance will not have started by that time. – We hoped that the performance would not have started by that time.
Future Perfect Continuous – Future Perfect Continuous in the Past
- Amanda says that by next spring she will have been living here for ten years. – Amanda said that by next spring she would have been living here for ten years.
- I know that they will have been studying there for three years by 2013. – I knew that they would have been studying there for three years by 2013.
Future Simple-in-the-Past Passive = would be + Verb 3
He said that the letter would be written the next day.
Future Perfect-in-the-Past Passive = would have been + Verb 3
He said that the letter would have been written by 5 o’clock the next day. Mom hoped that the room would have been cleaned when she came home. They promised that the articles would have been written by the next evening. He was afraid that the things would not have been packed by 2 o’clock the next day.
Have practice using Future-in-the-Past
Example: Michael says the film will start in an hour. – Mark said the film would start in an hour.
- I know that he won’t call me today.
- I think he will tell us the truth.
- He is sure that they will hire him.
- I don’t think they will like my new haircut.
- Emma hopes you won’t be angry with her.
- I suppose they will be working from five to ten.
- Steward says his elder brother will have been playing football for eleven years by 2019.
- I think she will have cooked supper by that time.
- We believe that children will be staying at Nora’s all day long.
- She expects the textbooks will have been bought by next month.
- Gabriella says that by the end of May she will have been working here for a year.
- Donna says that she will be playing tennis.
- I hope the meeting won’t have been cancelled by Wednesday.
- Ben thinks he and Julie will be watching films for the whole evening.
- He knows that the guests will have arrived by eight.