Use of ‘will’ for the Future

back_to_the_future_part_ii_textless_posterI have heard it many times, maybe you have even said it yourself; I have heard so many students tell me that they will go to the cinema this weekend or that they will start work at 9 am tomorrow morning. I always think to myself, is this is a plan? Is this an arrangement? Because if it is, they should not be using ‘will’.

The first thing we need to understand is we NEVER use ‘will’ for a future plan or a future arrangement. NEVER.

If you want to talk about a plan, try ‘going to‘: ‘ I am going to watch a film later.’

If you want to talk about an arrangement, try ‘present continuous‘: ‘I am meeting my friends at 8 pm.

 

If you want to use will, you need to do it in these situations:

  • An Instant Decision – If you make a decision right now then it is not a previous plan or arrangement. This means that you can use ‘will’. If you walk into a coffee shop, look at the menu and decide then that you want an espresso, then this is an instant decision. You can use ‘will’: ‘I will have an espresso, please.’
  • An Offer – When you want to offer some help or you want to do something for somebody else, ‘will’ is something you can use. My wife needs to go to the airport, OK. ‘I’ll take her.’ My brother is finding his homework difficult, OK. ‘I’ll help him.’
  • A Promise – A promise is something you decide at the time to say, so it is not a plan or arrangement. We can use ‘will’ here. If somebody tells you a secret, you might tell them: ‘I won’t say anything to anyone.’ 

So here you have it, the real reasons to use ‘will’ . Try to move away from just using ‘will’ for everything in the future if you can, it will make your English sound much more natural if you do.

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