Future - Will
English Grammar Notes
We normally use WILL to speak about the future. It is always combined with another verb.
Since WILL is classified as a modal verb (like can, would, could, should) it has the same characteristics:
- It does not change in the third person (i.e. he, she, it)
- It is always combined with another verb in the base form (i.e. without 'to')
- We don't use it with 'Do' in questions or negatives.
Examples of Will:
- I will go to the cinema tonight.
- He will play tennis tomorrow.
- She will be happy with her exam results.
- They will take the bus to the South next week.
When to use WILL
We use WILL in the following circumstances:
1. For things that we decide to do now. (Rapid Decisions)
This is when you make a decision at that moment, in a spontaneous way.
- I'll call a taxi for you.
- I think we'll go right now. (I just decided this right now)
- Which one? Um, I will have the chicken sandwich please.
2. When we think or believe something about the future. (Prediction)
This can be based on personal judgement or opinion.
- The President will not be re-elected at the next election.
- I think it will rain later so take an umbrella with you.
- I think you will find the movie interesting.
Notice how you often use "I think..." before the subject + will.
3. To make an offer, a promise or a threat.
- You look tired. I'll finish the dishes for you.
- I will do my best to help you.
- If you say anything I will kill you!
- I will have it ready by tomorrow.
- I'll drive you to work if you want.
- Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. (won't = will not)
4. For a habit that is a predictable behaviour
- My daughter will fall asleep as soon as she is put into bed.
- He will give up if he starts losing. He always does that.
5. You use WON'T when someone refuses to do something.
- I told him to clean his room but he won't do it.
- She won't listen to anything I say.
Negative Sentences with WILL
In the negative, we add NOT to the end of WILL and not to the main verb. (= will not)
- I will not be in the office tomorrow. (correct)
I will be not in the office tomorrow. (Incorrect)
- They will not stay here. (correct)
They will stay not here. (Incorrect)
It is possible to use contractions in both positive and negative sentences.
With positive contractions WILL becomes 'LL and is joined to the subject:
With negative contractions, will not becomes won't:
|I will not||I won't|
|You will not||you won't|
|He will not||he won't|
|She will not||she won't|
|It will not||it won't|
|We will not||we won't|
|You will not||you won't|
|They will not||they won't|
To form a question using WILL, we reverse the order of the subject and WILL:
Will they win the cup?
- Yes, they will.
- No, they won't.
Will you tell him the truth?
- Yes, I will.
- No, I won't.
Will she get angry?
- Yes, she will.
- No, she won't.
See the difference between Will and Going To.
See our notes about other Modal Verbs.
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