Notes & Advice on Mastering the Future Tense in Academic Writing

Mastering Tense in the English Language: The Future
In my earlier posts on mastering tense I discussed the present and past tenses of English verbs. In this post I would like to provide some advice on the four basic future tenses: the future simple, the future continuous, the future perfect and the future perfect continuous.

The least complicated of the future tenses is the future simple, which is formed by using the auxiliary verb ‘will’ followed by the main verb. Examples include ‘I will read that book,’ ‘You will drive to the library,’ ‘She will cook dinner’ and ‘They will watch television.’ For a negative construction ‘not’ should be inserted between the auxiliary and the main verb, as in ‘I will not read that book’ or ‘She will not cook dinner tonight.’ A question is formed by exchanging the positions of the subject and the auxiliary verb: ‘Will you drive to the library?’ and ‘Will they watch television?’ The future simple describes action that will occur in the future and can also be used for prediction, as in ‘It will snow tomorrow’ or ‘He will get the job.’ The verb ‘to think’ is often used along with the simple future, so ‘I think it will snow tomorrow’ is an alternative form of expression, as is ‘She thinks he will get the job.’
PhD ThesisEditing Services
The future continuous or future progressive tense is constructed by using the auxiliary verbs ‘will’ and ‘be’ followed by the present participle of the main verb. ‘I will be reading that book tomorrow,’ ‘You will be driving to the library next week’ and ‘They will be watching television every night’ are good examples. The word ‘not’ is inserted between ‘will’ and ‘be’ to form a negative statement, and the subject changes places with the word ‘will’ when a question is intended. ‘She will not be cooking dinner tonight’ and ‘We will not be visiting our aunt next week’ are examples of the first, while ‘Will you be driving to the library?’ and ‘Will they be visiting her?’ are examples of the second. The future continuous is used to describe something that will be happening at a given moment or point in the future – a moment at which the action will have started but not finished – and even when the time is not specifically mentioned, the reader or listener generally understands what time is intended.

The future perfect is formed with the auxiliary verbs ‘will’ and ‘have’ along with the past participle of the main verb. Examples include ‘I will have read that book by then,’ ‘She will have cooked dinner before dark’ and ‘We will have visited our aunt already.’ For a negative construction the word ‘not’ should be inserted between ‘will’ and ‘have,’ as it is in ‘You will not have driven to the library before noon’ and ‘They will not have watched television that early.’ A question is formed by exchanging the positions of the subject and the auxiliary verb ‘will’: ‘Will you have read the book before morning?’ and ‘Will they have finished their research before the deadline?’ The future perfect reports action in the future that occurs before another action in the future; it is therefore ‘perfect’ in that it expresses the past from the perspective of the future.

The future perfect continuous, also referred to as the future perfect progressive, is constructed by using three auxiliary verbs – ‘will,’ ‘have’ and ‘be’ – followed by the present participle of the main verb. ‘I will have been reading the book for hours by then,’ ‘He will have been driving for days to get there’ and ‘We will have been flying all night before we land’ are correct examples. ‘A negative sentence includes the word ‘not’ between ‘will’ and ‘have,’ as in ‘I will not have been reading the book for hours by then’ or ‘They will not have been watching television all evening,’ and a question switches the positions of the subject and the auxiliary verb ‘will,’ as is the case in ‘Will you have been flying all night?’ and ‘Will she have been reading for two days straight?’ The future perfect continuous is similar to the future perfect, but the actions it describes tend to be longer or extended up to a specific point or moment in the future, with the action beginning in the past, present or future, but always ceasing in the future.

Finally, do be aware that the auxiliary verb ‘shall’ is sometimes used instead of ‘will’ in these future constructions, especially with ‘I’ or ‘we’ as the subject. ‘I shall read that book,’ ‘We shall be cooking dinner tonight,’ ‘I shall have finished that book by then’ and ‘We shall have been driving for hours by the time we arrive’ are therefore acceptable alternative constructions.

Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At we offer the highest quality journal article editing, phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions proofreaders and achieve publication.

Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.

If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.

topbanner errow