Going forward, sooner or later (Expressions to talk about the future)

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by Kate Woodford

This post takes a look at a group of phrases that we use when we talk about the future.

Some of the phrases that we use when we talk about our future plans and ideas simply mean ‘at some time in the future’, (without mentioning a particular time), for example at some point: At some point, we’ll look into buying a new laptop.

Other phrases mean ‘at some time in the future’ but are usually used in a specific context. For instance, the phrase one day goes before something that we would like to do, though have no definite plans for: One day, I’ll live by the sea.

The phrase some day (written as one word someday in the US) is also used like this: Maybe someday I’ll go back to Canada.

The phrase sooner or later also means ‘at some point in the future’ and often emphasizes that something bad cannot be avoided, even if we don’t know exactly when it will happen: Sooner or later, she’s going to find out what he did.

The expression one of these days is often used to talk about something bad that we think will happen soon: One of these days, Liam’s going to get into big trouble!

If we talk about days / weeks / years, etc. to come, we mean the days / weeks / years, etc. in the future: The full impact of this decision will be felt for years to come.

The adverb ahead is used in the same way: We talked to CEO, Julia Jones, about her hopes and fears for the year ahead.

We also talk about a time ahead of us, meaning a time in the future:

He has a tricky time ahead of him.

We have a very exciting six months ahead of us.

The phrase going forward is often heard in a business or official context, meaning ‘in the future’:

Going forward, this might be a better strategy.

So what are your plans for the club going forward?

In the short run / term means for a period that will end soon: In the short run, this approach may work.

In the long run / term means the opposite; ‘for a longer period that will end further into the future’: No one knows how this situation will play out in the long run.

The foreseeable future is as far into the future as you can plan for or predict:

We’ll be living here, certainly for the foreseeable future.

We’re unlikely to find a cure in the foreseeable future.

A phrase used to mean ‘in the near future’ is in the not-too-distant future: At some point in the not-too-distant future, we hope to leave London.

Finally, what the future holds means ‘what will happen in the future’. This phrase is often used in negative expressions and questions:

Who knows what the future holds?

No one knows what the future holds.

18 thoughts on “Going forward, sooner or later (Expressions to talk about the future)

  1. Maryem Salama

    What a coincidence! I read an article today, and I focused on this phrase (at some point) wishing, I know more about it. Thank you, my dear Kate.

  2. Artem

    “We have a very exciting six months ahead of us.” – should there really be “a” before the months?

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