Simple Present for the future

How to use the Present Simple for the future

The Present Simple talks about general present situations showing generally accepted facts or truth and also for showing habits and things that happen regularly, often, sometimes, always, never etc.

The Simple Present tense is sometimes used in other ways:

Present Simple for the future

– With a future time expression, to show an action that was previously planned or has a regular timetable (work, classes, trains etc)

Informal reporting of what people say.

– Stories, and talking about stories in informal narrative.

– Formal correspondence.

– Here comes ….. etc

1. Talking about planned actions or events.

To learn the English language well we have to see that there is not one Future tense. There are a number of different ways to talk about future actions or events.

The Simple present tense can be used to talk about future arrangements if a future time expression is also used, or it is understood from the context. (If there is no future time expression, people will usually understand the “habit”  meaning.)

Compare:

Sandra starts work at 8:00.         We understand that this is normal for Sandra

John starts work at 10:00 on Friday. We understand that this is a special situation for this Friday

 

Examples:

Quickly please children! Class starts in five minutes. (the class is programmed to start)

The train leaves at 8:43 on Friday  (it has a fixed timetable)

I get up at six o’clock next Tuesday, I have to be in London at 8:00

My mother leaves at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. (her journey is already planned)

Mary and Helen can’t go with me next Wednesday.
They have training then.

For other uses of the Present Simple

Present Simple verb form and introduction

How to use the Present Simple

To learn English grammar well you need to look, read and listen to  as much standard English as possible. In this way you will get a good model of the English language and understand how we use English grammatical forms in the most natural way possible

Back to grammar lessons

2 Responses to “Simple Present for the future”

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  1. F-TOP says:

    Would it be OK to say:

    I go to my lawyer tomorrow.

    I understand that it’s possible to say that. Then what difference do you see between

    1) I go to my lawyer tomorrow.

    2) I am going to my lawyer tomorrow.

    • admin says:

      Yes, it would be OK to say it in certain circumstances.
      We use the Present Simple for the future when we see that it is a regular programmed event. So in this case, if I go to my lawyers every Tuesday, and today is Monday, then I would say “I go to my lawyers tomorrow”
      The Present Continuous is more common for a planned actvity in the future, normally for one occasion:
      I’m giving a dinner party for my ex-university friends this weekend
      John’s playing football on Saturday afternoon.
      But NOTE that it is not unusual for the Present Simple to be used in informal situations where we see the event as part of our present.

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