Indicating the future

Read the following sentences.

‘Jack, can you post this letter?’
‘Yes, Mummy, I will post it on my way to school. ‘
‘And Jack you said something about Alice.’
‘Yes, she will be here in the evening.’

In English, there are several ways to indicate the future. We can, for example, use will or shall. Note that shall is becoming much less common in American English. It is still used in British English with first person pronouns (I and we).


I shall / will finish this job tomorrow. (British)
I will finish this job tomorrow. (American)
We will / shall meet next week. (British)
We will meet next week. (American)

With second and third person subjects, will is used in both British and American English to indicate future.

Ravi will be here in the afternoon.
She will write her exam tomorrow.
He will leave on Monday.
He will tell you what to do.
You will find him in the playground.
They will make fun of you.
You will fall ill if you eat too much.

In speech, the form ’ll is used. In this case, the distinction between shall and will is lost.

I’ll invite them to my party. (This can be ‘I will…’ or ‘I shall…’)

The negative form of shall is shall not or shan’t. The negative form of will is will not or won’t.

I shan’t go.
He won’t listen to me.