We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Future Tense?

By Matt Hubbard
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The future tense of a verb is a verb form that indicates action yet to occur. In English, it is generally indicated by combining the present tense of a verb with an auxiliary verb and/or an adverb that establishes the time of the action. Two special cases of the future tense are the hypothetical, which can be used to indicate something that was possibly in the future at some time in the past, and the future perfect, which is used to indicate something that will be in the past at some time in the future. The hypothetical is generally indicated with the helping verb "would" as in, “Brian said he would come to the party.” The future perfect is created by combining a future tense helping verb with a past participle, as in “At some point, we may have solved this riddle.”

An auxiliary verb, also known as a helping verb, adds to the main verb in a sentence to create a verb phrase. The auxiliary verb form most often associated with the future tense is "will," as in the sentence, “Who will answer my question?” Traditionally, the helping verb "shall" should be used in place of "will" for first person speech, as in “I shall not surrender,” but modern usage has made will and shall interchangeable. The phrase "is going to" is also usable for "will." Other helping verbs such as "may," "might," "should" and "must" are used to indicate the future with various degrees of immediacy and certainty of whether the action will occur.

Future tense can also be indicated by adding an adverb to the present tense; either a word like "soon" or "tomorrow," or a adverbial phrase like "at midnight tonight" or "when the bough breaks," allows the context provided by the adverb to indicate when the action is expected. Both an auxiliary verb and an adverb may be present, as in “Tomorrow the company will answer all your questions,” or the adverb may be the only indicator within the sentence, as in “The ship to Bermuda departs tomorrow.”

Future tense can be difficult to translate, as various languages handle it differently. Classical Latin and some other romance languages have specific verb conjugation forms to indicate the future tense. Many other European languages have a specific auxiliary they use, with less variety of future forms. Some languages do not even have a future tense. For example, ancient Hebrew had tenses for complete and incomplete actions and depended on context to distinguish between present acts, such as “I am traveling to Jerusalem,” and future acts, such as “I will travel to Jerusalem.” As a result of these differences, translations of the future tense, particularly by novice speakers or automated translation can sound stilted and awkward.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.