Native English speakers use this tense without thinking about it. When it’s your first language it’s automatic, but our experience teaching in a number of different countries has made us aware of the difficulties for students learning English as a second language. I remember my Czech students shaking their heads and asking, “Do people really talk that way?” In the following paragraphs I’ll try to explain the grammar in a simple way and provide some practice activities. Let’s look first at the Simple Future Tense
When someone is talking about something that will happen in the future, the simple future tense is used.
Use: will + the root form of the verb = will drive
EXAMPLE: I will drive to town tomorrow.
Negative: I will not drive. = I won’t drive.
Use: to be + going + the infinitive = am going to walk up the mountain.
Singular: I am going to walk up the mountain.
You are going to walk up the mountain.
He / She / It / is going to walkup the mountain.
Plural: We / You / They/ are going to walk up the mountain.
The best way for the students to feel comfortable with this tense is for them to practice using it in real life situations. Have them divide into small groups and practice role-playing this dialogue.
Narrator: Rose, Luke, Carol and Tom had a good time visiting Mahatma Gandhi’s Memorial. Sitting at breakfast in the hotel the next morning, they are planning their last day in Delhi.
Luke: Let’s go to the Lotus Temple.
Carol: I like that idea!
Tom: We’re going to get the bus home at six o’clock tonight.
Rose: Yes, we are going to be tired, but we can sleep on the bus!
Carol: Yes, we’re going to have twelve hours to sleep!
Have the students work in small groups to ask and answer these questions. They can check their answers from the box provided.
1. Are you going to leave home at half past eight?
2. Are you going to have tea with your friend tomorrow?
3. Are you going to help your friend tomorrow?
4. Are you going to go to your friend’s party tonight?
5. Are you going to be at class tomorrow?
6. Are you going to go hiking in the mountains next week?
7. Are you going to visit a big city next year?
8. Are you going to take something to your friend’s party?
Fortunately, the use of this tense is quite flexible. Although it needs to be introduced to the students, it’s possible for them to use the simple future in many cases. Their laughter as they work together will make this rather convoluted tense seem a lot easier.