Future Tense Verbs: 4 Forms and How to Use Them

Since no one knows the future, it seems fitting that there are four different ways to express actions that will take place in the future. Learn the different ways that you can express what's going to happen by using future tense verbs.

picture of future for future tense verbs picture of future for future tense verbs
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What Is a Future Tense Verb?

A future tense verb is used to show something is going to happen in the future. The differences in future verb tenses depend on whether the action will be ongoing or completed at a specific time. So, you might say, "Tomorrow, I will write," or "By tomorrow, I will have been writing for six days straight."

Each of the future tense verbs allows you to write with specificity and purpose. It's one thing to say, "I will finish my book." It's more specific to say, "I will have finished my book by the 30th." Let's examine each of the four verb forms.

Simple Future Tense

This verb tense is used to express an action that will take place in the future. It's generally reserved for something that will begin and end in the future. It's a statement of fact, made with certainty. There are two formulas for this verb tense.

  • will + verb - I will travel to Greece tomorrow. I shall travel to Greece tomorrow. (Although "shall" isn't popular today, it also fits within the simple future tense as shall + verb.)
  • to be + going to + verb - I am going to eat a sandwich in Greece tomorrow. We are going to sit by the sea.

Since you know the structure of simple future tense, it can be helpful to look at a few examples.

Simple Future Example Sentences

Writing in simple future tense isn't hard. But it might take a minute to get the hang of it. See a few different examples of this tense.

  • We will fly to Santorini.
  • I am going to dine with friends when we land.
  • They shall eat lamb and rice.
  • She will journal about the entire trip.

Simple Future Tense Example Questions

The structure for questions in the simple future tense is similar. It's typically will + subject + verb or to be + subject + going to + verb.

  • Will you fly to Greece tomorrow?
  • Are we going to dine with friends as soon as we land?
  • Shall they join us for dinner?
  • Will she write an autobiography?

Future Progressive Tense

The future progressive tense is used to express an ongoing action that will take place in the future. The formula is:

  • will be + present participle - I will be traveling to Greece tomorrow.

Present participle verbs end in -ing. Changing the verb to the present participle (with an -ing ending) indicates that, even though this action will take place in the future, it will be ongoing or progressive.

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Future Progressive Example Sentences

Examples can make it easier to understand how to use the present participle verbs. Explore a few examples of future progressive tense.

  • We will be packing for our vacation tonight.
  • He will be bringing the camera and accessories.
  • I will be taking the paint supplies.
  • They will be camping with us this summer.

Future Progressive Tense Question Examples

Similar to constructing questions with the simple future tense, writing sentences in the future progressive tense follows the format will + subject + be + present participle.

  • Will you be packing for our vacation tonight?
  • Will he be bringing the camera and tripod?
  • Will I be taking the paint supplies, or will he?
  • Will they be camping with us as well?

Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect tense is used to express an action that will be completed at some point in the future. The formula is:

  • will have + past participle - I will have traveled to Greece by tomorrow.

Past participles typically end in -ed, unless the verb is an irregular verb. So, the regular verb "walk" becomes "walked," but the irregular verb "buy" becomes "bought."

Future Perfect Example Sentences

Are you ready to tackle that past participle? Just in case you are a bit confused, you can look at future perfect tense examples.

  • We will have finished our first meal by then.
  • After the plane ride, he will have slept for ten hours.
  • She will have unpacked all their belongings.
  • They will have bought every piece of pottery at the local market.
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Future Perfect Tense Example Questions

To form questions in the future perfect tense, the formula is will + subject + have + past participle.

  • Will we have finished our calamari by 9 p.m.?
  • Seriously, will he have slept for ten hours by then?
  • Will she have unpacked my clothes by the time we return home tonight?
  • Will they have bought every item in the market?

Future Perfect Progressive Tense

Future perfect progressive tense is used to express an ongoing action that will be completed at a specific time in the future. The formula is:

  • will have been + present participle - I will have been traveling for 18 hours by then.

The difference between this tense and the future progressive tense is that the future progressive tense does not specify an exact date/time. However, the future perfect progressive tense does. In effect, it combines the future perfect tense with the future progressive tense.

Future Perfect Progressive Example Sentences

When you have a set time something will be accomplished in the future, you use future perfect progressive tense. Get a clear idea of this tense through examples.

  • By this time next year, we will have been living in Santorini for 11 months.
  • He will have been writing for over a decade.
  • The restaurateur will have been serving the public for 15 years.
  • They will have been married for longer than they had been apart.

Future Perfect Progressive Question Examples

To form questions in the future perfect progressive tense, follow the formula will + subject + have been + present participle, as in these examples.

  • By then, will we have been living in Greece for 11 months already?
  • Will he have been writing for over a decade?
  • Will the restaurateur have been serving delicious meals for over 15 years?
  • Will they have been married for longer than they had been apart?
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Future Tense Verbs Chart

If you are having any trouble understanding the different future tense verbs, print out this handy chart to keep them straight.

future tense verbs chart

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Verb Tenses for Every Occasion

Thanks to the depths of language, we can express ourselves in the past, present and future tense with clarity. The future tense is particularly interesting because we can plan upcoming events with mild specificity or great detail. Ready to dive into the past and further explore the present? Explore these categories of English verb tenses for all the details.