by Kate Woodford
The future in English is complicated. The problem is that there are so many different ways of talking about it, and the differences between those various ways are sometimes quite slight. This week and next, we’re looking at the range of tenses and structures that we use to talk about the period of time that is to come.
We’ll start with a really useful tense – the present continuous (be + v-ing), (Notice, by the way, that we’re not starting with ‘will’ – more of that later…):
We are having dinner with friends tonight.
I’m seeing the dentist tomorrow.
What are you doing this weekend?
I’m starting my course next month.
We use this tense for talking about the planned future – things that we have already arranged to do. We use it both in statements and questions, and we use it a lot. It may be useful to think of the present continuous as the ‘diary’ tense – the tense that you use to talk about meetings, appointments, etc. that need arranging – the sort of future events that you might write in your diary. Read the rest of this entry ?