Sesión 1

Dan gives us five ways of talking about the future without using 'will' or 'going to'. 

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BBC Masterclass

The future's not what it seems!

You probably know that in English, we talk about the future using 'will' and 'going to'. But there's more to it than that. Dan gives you five ways to talk about the future without using future tenses.

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Dan
Hi guys, Dan for BBC Learning English here. This time we're going to talk about five ways to talk about the future without using future tenses. Are you ready? Let's go...

1. So, we can use be + the full infinitive to talk about events in the future. This is kind of formal and commonly happens in newspapers and in the media. Oh! I've just heard that the Queen is to open a new museum tomorrow. You see? Now, we only use this for events which are under human control, so don't say "The weather is to rain tomorrow." You don't have that power and I choose not to use it. 

If you want to talk about the very near future we can add the word about - so, 'I'm about to go to the shops. Do you want anything?' Got it? Number one done.

2. Number two. We can use be due to + the full infinitive to talk about events that are scheduled to happen in the future. So, for example: 'My plane is due to land at around 5:30 so I'll probably be home about 9:30.' Got it? Number two done.

3.  Number three. We can talk about our confidence of an event happening in the future using the verb be + sure to or bound to. For example, 'Now that England are out of the football, Germany are bound to win.' Or, 'It's sure to rain tomorrow.' Number three done.

4.  Number four. For events that are going to happen very soon we use expressions such as, on the verge of and on the brink of. These are followed by ing verbs or nouns. for example, 'Scientists are on the verge of discovering a cure for cancer.' Or 'people in the city are on the brink of starvation because of a lack of food.' 

5. Finally, many verbs are used in the present tense but actually have a future meaning. These are verbs like hope, plan, aim, intend, want and propose. They're always followed by the infinitive. That's number five. Did you get it? Great. See you next time guys. Bye!

Summary

1. be + full infinitive

We use be + full infinitive to talk about events in the future. It's quite formal and is often used by journalists.

  • The prime minister is to open a new factory.
  • The motorway is to shut for maintenance.
  • The actor is to be awarded for his services to theatre.

2. be due + full infinitive

We use be due + full infinitive to talk about scheduled events.

  • Ling's train is due to arrive at 9:37.
  • Jayeesh's parents are due to leave this evening.
  • Ivana's exam's due to finish at noon.

3. be + sure / bound + full infinitive

We use be + sure / bound + full infinitive to talk about a future event we are confident will happen.

  • João's sure to be late. He always is.
  • Lenu was bound to win. She's so much better at tennis than Carmela.
  • It's bound to rain tomorrow. It always does when we have a picnic.

4. on the verge of / on the brink of

We use on the verge of / on the brink of for events that are going to happen very soon. These phrases are followed by nouns or gerunds (words made from verb + ing which act as a noun).

  • The volcano was on the verge of erupting.
  • The minister was on the brink of resigning.
  • The countries were on the verge of war.

5. present tense with a future meaning.

We often use a present tense with a future meaning after verbs such as hope, plan, aim, intend, want and propose. The verb that follows is in the infinitive.

  • Elif hopes to finish her studies and find a job next year.
  • Ekatrina intends to buy a house after saving for a few years.
  • Jorge plans to live abroad.

To do

Are you scared of the future? Prepare yourself with a simple quiz. 

Look into the future

5 Questions

Choose the correct answer

Felicitaciones. Has completado el quiz.
Excellent! ¡Muy bien! Bad luck! Tu puntaje :
x / y

End of Session 1

That's it for this session. We hope you're on the brink of understanding some alternative ways of talking about the future.

Next

Join us for News Review as we discuss a major story in the news, and the language you need to understand it.

Sesión de gramática

  • 5 alternative ways to talk about the future

    1. be + full infinitive

    To talk about events in the future. Formal and often used by journalists.

    • The prime minister is to open a new factory.

    2. be due + full infinitive

    To talk about scheduled events.

    • Ling's train is due to arrive at 9:37.

    3. be + sure / bound + full infinitive

    To talk about a future event we are confident will happen.

    • João's sure to be late. He always is.

    4. on the verge of / on the brink of

    For events that are going to happen very soon. Followed by nouns or gerunds 

    • The volcano was on the verge of erupting.

    5. present tense with a future meaning.

    After verbs such as hopeplan,aimintendwant and propose. The verb that follows is in the infinitive.

    • Elif hopes to finish her studies and find a job next year.

Sesión de vocabulario