Future Plans

Lesson 18. Video lesson on which tenses / forms to use for future plans. One of them is "going to". Do you know the other one? This is a big source of mistakes for English learners.

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Future Plans - Exercise 1  Video Exercise 1

Future Plans - Exercise 2  PDF Exercise 2

Future Simple - Revision PDF  PDF Handout

Lesson transcript

Welcome back. In this lesson we're looking at future plans in English and the verb tenses that we use.

We're going to start the lesson by looking at three example sentences. It's your job to find the wrong sentence of the three.

So <here> are the sentences.

Now, number 1: 'I'm going to visit my aunt next week' – in this case, the construction is 'I'm going to'.

For Number 2 the sentence is: 'I'm visiting my aunt next week'.

In this case the construction is Present Continuous – 'I'm visiting'

Number 3: 'I'll visit my aunt next week'. Here the construction of the tense is Future Simple.

So which sentence is wrong? Well, number 1, which uses 'going to' for future plans is fine.

Number 2, which uses Present Continuous – the plan is next week – is also fine.

That leaves sentence 3: Future Simple: 'I'll visit my aunt next week' as the wrong sentence.

We can't [normally] use Future Simple for future plans. In fact, this is a common mistake.

I often hear students say for example:
'I'll go on holiday next week'. What they should be saying is 'I'm going to go on holiday next week', or even: 'I'm going on holiday next week' in the Present Continuous.

Remember, Future Simple is normally used for quick decisions about the future, for predictions and for requests in the question form.

Now, before we continue let's look at some time expressions for future plans so that we have some context.

Number 1, and this is <something> week, month, year. And the answer is: 'next'.

Number 2, 'in a month, in two months, in a week, is a future plan, we say we'll do something 'in a month'.

Number 3, here we can have 'on' - so, 'on the 1st October here'.

Number 4, this time expression for future plans, where we have 'afternoon', 'evening' is: 'this'. We can also have 'year' or even 'century'.

Number 5, this is 'tonight', or 'tomorrow'.

The 6th expression for future plans is simply 'later'. And Number 7 is 'at… 2 o'clock' when we're talking about 2 o'clock in the future.

Let's now go back to our tenses for future plans.

And we've seen already that we can use 'Going to' and Present Continuous. Let's look at 'going to' first of all.

And we form 'going to' with 'to be' plus 'going to' plus the verb.

For example, 'He's going to arrive late'.
Another example is, 'I'm / I am going to live in Australia next year.'
The third example is 'Are they going to come with us?' in the question form.

Now, you might be wondering about the use of 'gonna', which is basically 'going to'  in a short form.

The first thing to remember is that this is a very informal form.

[See screen for rest of lesson]

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Nouns: Countables, Uncountables (1)
Articles (2)
(3) | (Zero Article 4) | The: Special Uses (5)
There is, there are (6)
Quantity: Some, Any (7) | Many, Much, A lot of (8) | A few, a little (9)
Prepositions of time: In, On, At (10)
The Present: Present Simple (11) | Present Continuous (12)
The Past: Past Simple (13) | Past Continuous (14) | Present Perfect (15)
Irregular Verbs (16)
The Future: Future Simple (17) | Future Plans (18)
Phrasal Verbs (19) (20)

     Countable and uncountable nouns 

     Countable and Uncountable
     Learn the two key rules

     "The": Special Uses
      "The": Special Uses
      10 special uses of 'the' here

     Phrasal Verbs - Part 1 

     Phrasal Verbs Part 1
     Each example with a picture

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