Ways of Expressing Future Actions

Let’s revise different ways of expressing future actions in English.

Exam in Mind Level B1/B2

Future Simple

  • predictions, offers, promises, requests, suggestions: Will you help me with the dinner? Shall I get you some coffee? 
  • on-the-spot decisions: Your clothes are dirty. – Are theyI’ll wash them.
  • opinions, hopes, fears, etc, with think, expect, suppose, hope, probably: I think he’ll pass the exam.
  • refusals, resistance or reluctance to do something: The door won’t open.

Be going to

  • intention: She’s going to take her driving test in a month.
  • planned actions: I know my clothes are dirty. I’m going to wash them tomorrow.
  • when there is evidence that something will definitely happen: She’s going to have a baby.
  • action seen as a result of something else in the future: He doesn’t know how to light a fire. He’s going to burn himself.

Present Continuous (+ time word)

  • fixed plans and personal arrangements, especially social and travel arrangements: He is arriving on the 6 o’clock train tomorrow morning. 

Present Simple

  • timetables, routines, schedules, fixed events which do not depend on the speaker’s plans or intentions: What time does the bus arrive in London?
  • in complex sentences in the subordinate clauses of time and condition with actions referring to the future (after the conjunctions when, till, until, as soon as, before, after, while, by the time, as long as, the moment ,once, if, unless, in case, on condition that, even if, suppose, supposing, provided, providing): He will have a bath before he goes to bed.

Future Continuous

  • action in progress at a certain moment in the future: I’ll be flying to Paris this time tomorrow.
  • logical assumption about the present: It’s midnight. He’ll be probably sleeping now.
  • planned actions (instead of Present Continuous): I’ll be seeing Tom tomorrow.

Future Perfect

  • action finished before a certain future time: By the end of July he will have been in Athens for two months.
  • logical assumptions about the past: It’s midnight. She will have gone to sleep by now. 

Future Perfect Continuous

  • duration of an action  up to a certain time in the future: By next Sunday, they will have been painting the house for two weeks.

Have Practice Using Different Ways of Expressing Future Actions

Task 1. Put the verbs in brackets into the proper tense forms, comment on the usage of tense forms.

  1. This time next week Bill (lie)__________ on the beach.
  2. I’m sorry I can’t meet you tonight. I (go out)__________ with my parents.
  3. What time the train (leave)__________?
  4.  Our teacher (give)__________ us a test tomorrow.
  5. The sky is getting really dark and there (be)__________ a storm.
  6. Don’t phone them now. They (not/get)__________ home yet.
  7. Is that the phone? – Don’t worry. I (get)________ it.
  8. Which one do you want? – I (take)__________ the blue silk one.
  9.  I think our team (probably win)__________.
  10. By Christmas we (work)__________ together for ten years.
  11. By the year 2020 more and more people (move)__________ to the cities.
  12. Many people (come)__________ to the wedding?

Task 2. Put the verbs in brackets into the proper tense forms expressing future actions.

  1. Please stay in you seats until the bell (ring)_______________.
  2. I (talk)_______________ to Sue about her decision to leave, but she (not listen)_______________.
  3. I’ve got a job in Stockholm so I (live)_______________ there for the next two years.
  4. Have you heard the news? Harry (join)_______________ the Army.
  5. Sorry to keep you waiting. I (not/be)_______________ long.
  6. According to the weather forecast, it (snow)_______________ tomorrow.
  7. Careful! You (knock)_______________ that jug off the table.
  8. Look out! You (hit)_______________ that tree.
  9. In fifty years’ time, most people (probably ride)_______________ bicycles to work.
  10. I (go)_______________ to Berlin at the end of the month.
  11. Stop teasing the dog, or it (bite)_______________ you.
  12. When I finally (go)_______________ into hospital, I (wait)_______________ for two months.
  13. Where we (go)_______________ for our holidays? Any ideas?
  14. Trevor and Laura (clean)_______________ the house tomorrow. They always do it on Saturday.
  15. I think she (hear)_______________ all about it by the time I (see)_______________ her.
  16. You (eat)_____________ when you (get)________________ here? If not, I (make)_______________ you something.
  17. They (get back)_______________ probably at about half past eight.
  18. By the time you (get)_______________ home I (clean)_______________ the flat from top to bottom.
  19. We (leave)_______________ Amsterdam on Tuesday morning, but we (not/reach)_______________ Sydney until Thursday evening.
  20. This government (be)_______________ in power for eight years soon but I don’t think they (win)_______________ the next election.
  21. I think they (finish)_______________ building the house by the time the winter (come)_______________ and then we (move)_______________ in the New Year.
  22. The children (be)_______________ hungry when they (get in)_______________ because they (run)_______________ around all afternoon.
  23. I am sure I (finish)_______________ this book by the weekend and then I (give)_______________ it to you.
  24. I expect they (be)_______________ tired when you (see)________________ them because they (work)_______________ all day.

Task 3. Match the sentences to make short exchanges. 

  1. Look at all those dark clouds.
  2. Mum, I’ve dropped my glass of milk.
  3. The meeting is held on Tuesday at 3 pm.
  4. What time did she say she’s going to get there?
  5. I told her to tidy up the room but she won’t.
  6. How much longer are you going to stay there?
  7. I feel awful. I think I’m going to faint.
  8. I’ll come and help you clear the attic in a moment.
  9. Tessa seems to gain a lot of weight.
  10. Will you please shut the door?
  11. What shall I get for dinner?
  12. When am I going to see you again?
  13. What do you think you’ll do when you finish school?
  14. Shall we go now? I’ve had enough.
  15. I’m just going to the post office.

a. Shall I have a word with her?
b. I’ll be with you in just a minute.
c. That’s easy. I’m going to get a job that earns me lots of money.
d. Thanks, that will be very helpful.
e. Actually, she’s going to have a baby.
f. Never mind. Accidents will happen.
g. I’m not sure I’ll be able to come.
h. She’ll probably be here by 9.30.
i. I’ll call the doctor right away.
j. Let’s just have fish and chips.
k. Perhaps I’ll see you tomorrow.
l. No, I won’t. Do it yourself.
m. Are you? I’ll come with you.
n. OK. I’ll just get your coat.
o. Yes, there’s going to be a storm.

Task 4. Open the brackets using the correct tense form expressing future actions.

  1. You (go)_______________ to the meeting tonight? If so, I (give)_______________ you a lift there. – Oh yes please, that would be helpful. I (play)_______________ tennis until 7 o’clock but I (be)_______________ back shortly after that.
  2. I (pick)_______________ you up at about 7.30. You (be)_______________ ready by then? – Yes. Don’t worry. I (wait)_______________ for you when you (get)_______________ there.
  3. Well, I first came here last June. – So by the end of May you (work)_______________ with us for almost a year.
  4. You look gorgeous in this dress. – Really? I (buy)_______________ it then.
  5. Why don’t we go to the cinema? – It’s too late. The film (start)_______________ by now.
  6. Do you ever think about what you (do)_______________ in ten years’ time? – Oh yes. I sometimes imagine that I (do)_______________ a very important job and (earn)_______________ lots of money and that I (live)__________ in a beautiful big house. But to be honest, I think I still (work)_______________ here and I probably (do)________________ the same job.
  7. So I (wait)_______________ for you when you (get)_______________ to the stations. I (not come)_______________ onto the platform but I (see)_______________ you by the ticket office. – O. K., that’s fine. I (carry)_______________ a heavy suitcase so I think we (have to)_______________ get a taxi from the station.
  8. You (do)_______________ anything special tonight? – Yes, I (go)__________ to the station to meet my friend Richard. He (stay)_______________ here for a week, remember. His train (get)_______________ in at eight fifteen.
  9. Hello, Claire. Sarah tells me you (go)_______________ to New York. And when you (leave)_______________? – Yes, I (spend)_______________ a couple of days there next week. My flight (leave)_______________ on Tuesday morning.
  10.  Can you post this letter for me on you way to work? – I’m sorry but I (not walk)_______________ past the post box this morning because Emma (give)__________ me a lift to work. I (post)_______________ it for you later on though.

Task 5. Read the conversations. Complete it with the correct forms of the verbs in brackets expressing future actions.


– Have you decided what you (do)_______________ this weekend?
– Yes, we (have)_______________ a quiet day on Saturday and then on Sunday we (take)_______________ a bus up into the mountains and do some walking. And we probably (book)_______________ into a hotel for the night. And what about you? You (do)_______________ lots of work as usual?
– Well, no. Mark phoned last night about coming down this weekend. He (come)_______________ on Friday.
– Oh, I’d like to see him. I think I (phone)_______________ him up tonight and arrange something.
– We (plan)_______________ to spend the day on the beach on Saturday. We (do)_______________ some swimming and sunbathing. I just hope the weather (be)_______________ warm enough. And then on Saturday night we (see)_______________ that new film with Tom Cruise.
– Well, as I’ve got nothing planned, I (join)_______________ you at the beach on Sunday then, if that’s O.K.
– Of course it is. I (pick)_______________ you up from your flat some time after breakfast.
– Oh thanks. I (bring)_______________ a picnic?
– Yes. Why not? I tell you what: Mark and I (make)_______________ some sandwiches and you (bring)_______________ some salad and fruit?
– Yes, fine. I (do)_______________ that. Good. That (save)_______________ us all the cost of eating out. And what about the film? What time you (see)_______________ that?
– We (see)_______________ the early showing at 6.00 and then we (try out)_______________ that new disco in town.
– Right. Well, I think I (spend)_______________ the evening at home with Sarah.
– O.K. so I (see)________________ you on Saturday morning, probably at around 10 o’clock.


– Did I tell you I’ve got a meeting in Glasgow at nine o’clock tomorrow morning? I  (drive)________________ up there overnight.
– Are you (drive)_______________ all through the night? You’re crazy. You (be)_______________ exhausted before you (arrive)_______________. Why don’t you take a train?
– I’ll be OK. I (need)_______________ a car while I (be)_______________ there I have to visit some companies in the area. I can sleep when I (get)_______________ home.
– If you (take) a train, it (be)_______________ much more comfortable. If you (need)_______________ a car, you can hire one when you (get)_______________ to Glasgow.
– If I (hire)_______________ a car, it (be)__________ too complicated. I’d rather take my own.
– It’s too dangerous. You might fall asleep on the motorway.
– I (not fall)_______________ asleep. I can play loud music. Anyway, I (get)_______________ there much quicker when there (be)_______________ no traffic on the road. As soon as I (arrive)_______________, I (ring)_______________ you up, I promise.
– I (be)_______________ worried until I (hear)_______________ from you. But don’t ring before I (be)_______________ awake in the morning.
– I (lie)_______________ down for a couple of hours before I (go)_______________.
– Good idea. You (be)_______________ exhausted tomorrow if you (not/get)_______________ some sleep this evening.


– O .K., Linda and Tom, let’s talk about your future accomplishments. You two are amazing! By the time you (get)_______________ married, you already (plan)_______________ your whole life together!
– Well, we (go)_______________ out together since school. By the time we (graduate)_______________ from university, we (think)_______________ about our marriage for a long time.
– When your first child (be)_______________ born, Tom (not/graduate)_______________ from university. I wonder how you (manage)_______________ with Tom still studying.
– It (not/be)_______________ easy but we’ve got a plan. Tom (finish)_______________ most of his courses by then. He (stay)_______________ with the baby during the day and (go)_______________ to evening classes.
– By the time you (celebrate)_______________ your tenth wedding anniversary, you (not/start)_______________ your business. You have a lot of patience.
– Not really. I (get)_______________ years of practice in my job by then. When I (open)_______________ the doors of Linda Ltd, I (become)_______________ a very experienced web page designer.
– Well, good luck to you and thanks for the interview.

Task 6.  Insert the proper tenses expressing future actions.

  1. Next Saturday, Daisy (fly)_______________ to Paris for a business meeting. Her secretary already (book)_______________ the flight. The plane (leave)_______________ at nine o’clock in the morning and one of her business clients (meet)_______________ her at the airport when the plane (land). She (not/know)_______________ how long the meeting (last)_______________, but she (return)________________ home by Thursday evening.
  2. Flora (become)_______________ a doctor when she (finish)_______________ school. She thinks she probably (work)_______________ in a hospital for most of her career. This time next month, she (revise)_______________ for her exams. By the time she (get)_______________ her degree she (study)_______________ medicine for five years. Flora (hope)_______________ she (pass)________________ all the exams with excellent grades.
  3. I (leave)_______________ the hotel early in case there (be)_______________ a lot of traffic. I don’t know how long the journey (take)_______________ or what time the plane (land)________________, but I (call)_______________ you as soon as I (arrive)_______________ at the airport. Then, I (wait)_______________ for you when you (come)_______________ to collect me.
  4. It’s five o’clock in the afternoon. Paula (drink)_______________ tea as she (wait)_______________ for Charles. She (wonder)_______________ if he (be)_______________ late as usual. She (wait)_______________ until the clock (strike)_______________ five and then she (call)________________ him in case he (forget)_____.
  5. Next month, Maggie (go)_______________ to Australia to visit her sister, who she (not/see) for fifteen years. The plane _______________ (leave) early in the morning and (stop)_______________ off at Singapore before flying on to Sydney. It (be)________________ a very long, tiring journey, but Maggie is very excited because this time next month, she (begin)_______________ her adventure on the other side of the world. She (stay)________________ in Australia for one month. She already (book)_______________ her flight, so she (fly)________________ back to Britain on 31st May. She hopes that she (visit)_______________ lots of fascinating places and (see)_______________ many interesting things by the time her holidays (be)_______________ over.
  6. By August, I (be)________________ a secretary for ten years. And I (earn)________________ the same salary for almost three years. That’s why I (make)________________ a New Year’s resolution to go back to college this year. I (write)________________ for college magazines and start saving for tuition. By March, I (work)_______________ out how much tuition (cost)________________. Then I (start)________________ applying. By summer, I (receive)_______________ acceptance letters. In August, I (talk)_______________ to my boss about working part-time and going to college part-time. By that time, I already (save)________________ enough to pay for a term’s tuition. By next New Year’s Day, I (study)________________ for a whole term.
  7. You ever (wonder)_______________ what exactly you (do)_______________ in ten years time? Well according to computer expert Tom Vincent, computers soon (be able)_______________ to make accurate predictions about the future. Professor Vincent from Cambridge (hold)_______________ a press conference next week to describe the computer which he (call)_______________ ‘Computafuture’. “This computer can tell us what life (be)_______________ like, based on data describing past events,” explains Professor Vincent. “For example, Computafuture can predict how many people (live)_______________ in a particular area, or whether there (be)_______________ a lot of rain in a particular period.” Professor Vincent also believes that by the year 2050, computers (replace)_______________ teachers, and also (do)_______________ most of the jobs now done by the police. “Computers (become)_______________ more intelligent all the time,” says Professor Vincent. “Soon they (direct)_______________ traffic and (teach)_______________ our children as well as (tell)_______________ us about the future.”