Teaching Future Simple Tenses can be confusing for ESL teachers and for students. This is because there are actually two "versions" of the Simple Future that need to be taught: will and be going to.
This page focuses on the use of "will" to express the future.
Resources for teaching "be going to," and also the use of the Present Progressive for the future, are listed at the bottom of this page.
As with all tenses, verb "conjugation" is only one part of the lesson. The "form" and the "function" must also be taught. This page discusses these three elements to help you prepare your ESL Future tense lesson plans.
Please note that "Future Simple" is interchangeable with "Simple Future." The name will depend on the teacher and/or the English grammar book.
The Future Simple is pretty easy to construct. Here's how:
Here are some examples with miscellaneous common verbs using the subject pronouns I, you, she/he/it, they, and we.
(five forms the ESL/EFL student must learn)
The Future Simple tense has two functions:
English language learners normally have trouble with knowing when to use "will" and when to use "be going to."
Using the Present Progressive/Present Continuous for the future is also sometimes a challenge for students studying the Future tenses. They tend to forget that they can use the Present Progressive with a future meaning.
Conjugating and forming this tense using "will" is usually pretty easy for students.
I regularly use Azar's Understanding and Using English Grammar when teaching Future Simple Tenses to my high intermediate and advanced students. It's a great teacher resource and also provides explanations and exercises for my adult ESL students.
See my "will" and "be going to"
page for tips on teaching the distinction between these two types of
future simple tenses, and also for a more detailed discussion about "be
Usually, the Present Progressive tense used for the future (e.g., "I am studying tonight") is the first part of teaching the Future to English Language Learners. See my Present Progressive page for tips.
For a thorough discussion on how to teach verb tenses, see my article on Teaching ESL Verb Tenses.
All material on this website is copyrighted (© 2007-2018).
You are free to use my materials in your classes.
I just ask that you include my website address on handouts.