Going to

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There is no one ‘future tense’ in English. There are 4 future forms. The one which is used most often in spoken English is ‘going to’, not ‘will’. We use ‘going to’ when we want to talk about a plan for the future. I’m going to see him later today. They’re going to launch it […]

Will Future

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Some people have been taught that ‘will’ is ‘the future’ in English. This is not correct. Sometimes when we talk about the future we cannot use ‘will’. Sometimes when we use ‘will’ we are not talking about the future. We can use ‘will’ to talk about future events we believe to be certain. The sun […]

Will be doing

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We can use ‘will be doing’ to talk about something that will be in progress at a particular moment in the future. This time next week, I’ll be sitting on the beach in Barbados. I’ll be thinking about you all back in the office – and I’ll be laughing. We’ll be enjoying ourselves too, boss. […]

Will or Going to

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When we want to talk about future facts or things we believe to be true about the future, we use ‘will’. The President will serve for four years. The boss won’t be very happy. I’m sure you’ll like her. I’m certain he’ll do a good job. If we are not so certain about the future, […]

The Future – present forms

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We use the present continuous to talk about things that we have already arranged to do in the future. I’ve got my ticket. I’m leaving on Thursday. I’m seeing Julie at 5 and then I’m having dinner with Simon.  He’s picking me up at the airport.  The company is giving everyone a bonus for Christmas. […]

Will – other uses

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Older textbooks often refer to ‘will’ as ‘the future tense’ and this has confused a lot of learners. It is important to remember that when we talk about the future we cannot always use ‘will’ and that when we use ‘will’ we are not always talking about the future. Here ‘will’ is clearly referring to […]

Shall

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We don’t use ‘Shall’ very frequently in modern English, particularly in American English. It is used to make offers and suggestions and to ask for advice. What time shall we meet? Shall we vote on it now? What dress shall I wear? Shall I open the window? You only really need to know that about […]

The Passive

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We use the active form to say what the subject does. For example: I speak English every day at work. I repaired the flat tire on the car. We use the passive form to say what happens to people and things, to say what is done to them. For example: English is spoken here. The […]

The Imperative

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We can use the imperative to give a direct order. Take that chewing gum out of your mouth. Stand up straight. Give me the details. We can use the imperative to give instructions. Open your book. Take two tablets every evening. Take a left and then a right. We can use the imperative to make […]

The -ing form

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The –ing form can be used like a noun, like an adjective or like a verb. Smoking is forbidden. I have a long working day. I don’t like dancing. When it is used like a noun it may or may not have an article before it. Marketing is a very inexact science.  The marketing of […]

Can

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bility’. Can you do that? I can’t manage to do that. You can leave your car in that parking space. You cannot smoke in here. Notice that there are two negative forms: ‘can’t’ and ‘cannot’. These mean exactly the same thing. When we are speaking, we usually say ‘can’t’. We use ‘can’ to talk about […]

Could

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‘Could’ is used to make polite requests. We can also use ‘can’ for these but ‘could’ is more polite.  Could you help me, please? Could you lend me some money? Could I have a lift? Could I bother you for a moment? If we use ‘could’ in reply to these requests, it suggests that we […]

May/Might

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We can use ‘may’ to ask for permission. However this is rather formal and not used very often in modern spoken English May I borrow your pen? May we think about it? May I go now? We use ‘may’ to suggest something is possible It may rain later today. I may not have time to […]

Should 1

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We use ‘should’ for giving advice. You should speak to him about it. He should see a doctor. We should ask a lawyer. We use ‘should’ to give an opinion or a recommendation. He should resign now. We should invest more in Asia. They should do something about this terrible train service. ‘Should’ expresses a […]

Should 2

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We can use ‘should’ after ‘reporting verbs’ such asdemand  insist  propose  recommend  suggest He demanded that we should pay for the repair. She insisted that she should pay for the meal. I have proposed that he should take charge of the organization.  The committee recommends that Jane should be appointed. We have suggested that Michael […]