Simple Future Tense

Simple Future Tense – Definition and Concept

We have already defined the tense of the verb as the time of occurrence or execution of the verb with respect to the time of making the statement. One of the three tenses of the verb is the Future tense, which is further classified into four types.

The Simple Future tense is that tense of the verb which is used when the verb will be occurring later or generally occurs after the time in which the statement is being made. A few examples below:

  • He will prefer tea over coffee.
  • The union will meet here
  • It will always be a pleasure to dine with you.

Simple Future tense is used to signify activities that periodically occur. Thus, verbs expressed in the simple Future tense are very frequently modified by adverbs of manner or time.

At the end of this article, the reader should be able to:

  • Understand the basic idea of Simple Future Tense
  • Understand Subject-Verb agreement for the Simple Future Tense
  • Understand the influence of auxiliaries and modals on Subject-Verb agreement
  • Study Simple Future Tense in the Passive Voice
  • Learn the Negative forms of sentences in the Simple Future Tense
  • Study the Interrogative forms of sentences in the Simple Future Tense

Simple Future Tense

As we’ve discussed above, Simple Future Tense is used to describe activities that will occur soon or occur after the time of statement. Let us take a few more examples to understand the idea:

  • Arvind will now be available for an appointment.
  • The board will think that you’re delusional.
  • I will be at the dormitory now.
  • The master will visit this place every Tuesday.
  • Will you believe whatever I say?

In each of the examples, we note how the verb shows the state of action or being of the noun or pronoun after the time as the statement or regularly in a frame of time after that of the statement. The fourth example shows regularity of the verb visits. Thus all of the verbs in these examples are in the Simple Future Tense.

Subject Verb Agreement (Noun-Verb agreement)

In the Simple Future Tense, Subject-Verb agreement is where we learn the general form of the verb for different nouns and pronouns. Since we have three persons (first, second and third) and two numbers (singular and plural) we study the different forms of the verb for all the six combinations:

First Person

  • I will be a firm believer of the paranormal when it has logical proof. (First person singular)
  • I won’t generally mix work with pleasure. (First person singular)
  • I might be able to get the codes tomorrow. (First person singular)
  • We will break for lunch and come back in 30 minutes. (First person plural)
  • We will predict the average rainfall for next week later today. (First person plural)

In each of the examples above, we see that the simple Future tense of verbs usually take the root form of the verb, with the same form for both singular and plural first person pronouns. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

First Person Singular form: Pronoun + modal + root form of verb

First Person Plural form: Pronoun + modal + root form of verb

Second Person

  • You could begin to comprehend the trouble you’ve put all of us in.
  • You will be at the auditorium this evening.
  • You will deliver the package to the bishop.

In each of the examples above, we see that the simple Future tense of verbs usually take the root form of the verb, with the same form for both singular and plural second person pronouns. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

Second Person Singular form: Pronoun + modal + root form of verb

Second Person Plural form: Pronoun + modal + root form of verb

Third Person

Nouns are generally in the third person, while pronouns can be of all persons. So nouns take the same form of the verb as third person pronouns. Examples include:

  • He will be a firm believer of the paranormal when it has logical proof. (Third person singular pronoun)
  • She won’t generally mix work with pleasure. (Third person singular pronoun)
  • They may just bring the whole house down tomorrow. (Third person plural pronoun)
  • The Dalai Lama will move to India. (Singular noun)
  • These machines will process 35 bottles per minute. (Plural noun)

In each of the examples above, we see that the simple Future tense of verbs usually take the root form of the verb. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

Thus, we have the verb forms as:

Third Person Singular form: Noun/Pronoun + modal + root of verb

Third Person Plural form: Noun/Pronoun + modal + root of verb

Auxiliaries and Modals in Simple Future Tense

Auxiliaries and modals have the same function in a sentence: assist the verb. While auxiliaries change with the tense of the verb, modals do not.

Auxiliaries

In the Simple Future Tense, the auxiliary verbs generally act as main verbs and the main verbs do not need an auxiliary (in the active voice). Since the use of a modal is commonplace in the future tense, the verb is used in only the root form (in this case be). Let us see a few examples where they act as main verbs:

  • I will be a consultant at this firm. (First person singular pronoun)
  • We will be on our way to the crash site. (First person plural pronoun)
  • You will be at the auditorium this evening. (Second person pronoun)
  • He will be a firm believer of the paranormal when it has logical proof. (Third person singular pronoun)
  • This performance will be a treat to watch. (Singular noun)

In the passive voice, they act as auxiliaries. We will learn about passive voice in the next section.

Modals [1]

The simple future tense uses modals almost everywhere, hence just like all the other tenses, the modal reduces the verb to its root form, the only difference here being that almost all the verbs in the simple future tense will be in the root form.

Examples include:

  • I might be able to get the codes tomorrow. (First person singular)
  • We will break for lunch and come back in 30 minutes. (First person plural)
  • She will slowly coax the suspect to take the deal. (Third person singular)
  • It will add to the momentum of the game. (Third person singular)

Simple Future Tense in Passive Voice

A sentence or a verb is in active voice when the subject is the executioner of the verb, while passive voice is when the subject is the recipient of the verb. With a change in voice, all pronouns and nouns take different forms of the verb. We explore that in this section.

From every type of person and number, we pick one example each from the previous sections.

First Person

  • Active: I won’t generally mix work and pleasure. (First person singular)
  • Passive: Work and pleasure won’t generally be mixed by me.
  • Active: We will predict the average rainfall for next week later today. (First person plural)
  • Passive: The average rainfall for next week will be predicted (by us) later

Second Person

  • Active: You will deliver the package to the bishop.
  • Passive: The package will be delivered (by you) to the bishop.

Third Person

  • Active: He might just bring the whole house down tomorrow. (Third person plural pronoun)
  • Passive: The whole house might just be brought down (by him)
  • Active: These machines will process 35 bottles per minute. (Plural noun)
  • Passive: 35 bottles will be processed by these machines per minute.

We make the following observations:

  • The primary verb takes the past participle form in the passive voice.
  • The root form of the auxiliary verb is always added to the verb with a modal compulsorily present.
  • For all number and person of the noun or pronoun, the formation is the same.

Thus the formation of the passive form of a verb in the Simple Future tense would be

For all nouns/pronouns:

Noun/Pronoun + modal + root form of Auxiliary + Past Participle form of Verb

Interrogative Sentences in the Simple Future Tense

Here, we study the rearrangement of words of a sentence with a change in type to interrogative sentences. Let us begin with a few examples from the previous sections:

  • Arvind will now be available for an appointment.
  • The board will think that you’re
  • You will believe whatever I say.
  • You could begin to comprehend the trouble you’ve put all of us in.
  • The Dalai Lama will move to India.
  • This performance will be a treat to watch.

The above sentences make a regular statement or what we call assert. Hence these are examples of assertive sentences. Let us now put these into the interrogative form:

  • Will Arvind be now available for an appointment?
  • Will the board think that you’re delusional?
  • Will you believe whatever I say?
  • Could you begin to comprehend the trouble you’ve put all of us in?
  • Will the Dalai Lama move to India?
  • Will this performance be a treat to watch?

The Observations:

Since modal verbs are mandatorily used with verbs in the Simple Future Tense, we observe that all verbs in the Simple Future tense are in the root form, even in their interrogative forms.

Thus the different interrogative forms of assertive sentences use the following formation:

Modal + Subject Noun/Pronoun + Root form of Verb

Negative Sentences in the Simple Future Tense

What happens when we change the form of assertive sentences from positive to negative form?

Let us take the examples above again:

  • Arvind will now be available for an appointment.
  • The board will think that you’re
  • You will believe whatever I say.
  • You could begin to comprehend the trouble you’ve put all of us in.
  • The Dalai Lama will move to India.
  • This performance will be a treat to watch.

When we convert them into the negative form, we get:

  • Arvind will now not be available for an appointment.
  • The board will not think that you’re
  • You will not believe whatever I say.
  • You could not begin to comprehend the trouble you’ve put all of us in.
  • The Dalai Lama will not move to India.
  • This performance will not be a treat to watch.

The Observations:

Since modal verbs are mandatorily used with verbs in the Simple Future Tense, we observe that all verbs in the Simple Future tense are in the root form, even in their negative forms.

Thus the different negative forms of assertive sentences use the following formation:

Subject Noun/Pronoun + modal + not + root form of verb

Conclusion

This concludes the discussion on the Simple Future Tense.

Notes

 [1] The use of modals on verbs (other than will and shall, which are explicitly used to indicate future tense) in the Future Tenses creates confusion about the tense of the sentence. Note the examples in the discussion on modals. The addition of a modal reduces the verb from Future form to root form and thus the sentence resembles their present tense equivalent.

This means that the sentence takes the Simple Present form (with modal) if initially expressed in Simple Future form (without modal), Present Continuous form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Continuous form (without modal), Present Perfect form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Perfect form (without modal), and Present Perfect Continuous form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Perfect Continuous form (without modal).

Readers can verify the above statement by comparing the section on modals of the articles on the corresponding forms of Present and Future Tense, especially the examples of sentences after the implementation of modals other than will and shall.

Thus in situations like these, the role of adverbs becomes quite important, as they are the determiner of the tense of these sentences. Sometimes, even after the use of adverbs, the tense of the sentence is left ambiguous. In that case, irrespective of the form of the sentence before the inclusion of modals, we identify these sentences as being in the Present Tense. The sub-type of the Present Tense can thereafter be determined by the conventional methods discussed in the articles on Present Tense.