English Verbs – Future tense (A helpful guide)

Future tense

I’ll play tennis tomorrow.
I’m playing tennis tomorrow.

Verbs future tense – Simple English grammar

I’ll play tennis tomorrow.
I’m playing tennis tomorrow.

These two sentences 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 hear the correct pronunciation)
nuance noun a very slight difference that is hard to notice.

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 me yesterday and I said yes.

Example 1. uses I’ll help and example 2. uses I’m helping. Why?

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

man wearing black polo shirt and gray pants sitting on white chair

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.
I’ll help him after lunch.”

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

② 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.
I’m helping Henry move next Saturday.”

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

More examples

woman walking in the street during night time
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels.com

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.)

grilling kebab
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

I will – contractions

*In natural English conversation, we often use the contractions I’ll, he’ll, she’ll etc.

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.

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

(Won’t is a contraction of will not)

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

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

Will you help me with this?

11 thoughts on “English Verbs – Future tense (A helpful guide)”

  1. What are you doing tomorrow? How about next year? Write about your future plans in the comments and practice this new grammar!I'm going to Canada next summer. 🌞

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