How to Introduce Future Tense

Updated May 25, 2017

Whether you are teaching English to ESL (English as a second language) students or any English learners, the tenses are important for everyone to understand. Teaching the future tense is referred to as "simple future" tense, which involves using either "will" or "going to." It is important to teach students how to use future tense and to make them understand when they should use phrases in future tense.

Introduce the future tense with the word "will." You can ask questions about what your students will do tomorrow. Your students can respond with phrases like: "I will go to the park." These sentences are examples of future tense using "will." Tell your students that "will" is followed with the base form of the verb, such as: "I will sleep" or "We will drink."

Explain the negative form of future tense with "will." Tell your students they can also express things they will not do. Ask your students for examples like: "I will not call her tomorrow" or "I won't go outside."

Introduce how to use simple future tense with a question, such as: "Will you go to the seminar?" Practice giving short answers in positive and negative forms, like: "I will" or "I won't."

Tell your students they can also speak in future tense by using the words "going to," which implies a plan. For example, you can say: "I am going to see the concert tomorrow." Ask students for more examples using "going to"; make sure the students use examples for things they have planned. You can do the same thing for the negative form and with questions.

Explain to your students how they can use the present progressive tense as future tense. For example, you can say: "I am watching TV tonight." This form has the same effect as saying "going to." Saying "I am going to watch TV tonight" has the same meaning as the first sentence.


Use many examples to explain future tense. Involve students in activities or use worksheets to help them understand.

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About the Author

Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.