We use the future tense for things ranging from stating vague ambitions (e.g., \u201cI will go to Hawaii one day\u201d) to making concrete plans (e.g., \u201cI will book tickets this evening\u201d). Mastering this tense is therefore essential for expressing yourself clearly. But how does this work? In English, we usually form the future tenses using the words \u201cwill\u201d and \u201cshall.\u201d Read on for some grammatical tips.\n\n[caption id="attachment_4385" align="aligncenter" width="376"] And once we're done with the grammar, we'll go back to dreaming about Hawaii.[\/caption]\nSimple Future Tense\nThe simple future tense combines \u201cwill\u201d or \u201cshall\u201d with the base form of a verb (i.e., the verb form used in the simple present tense). For example, we could say:\nHawaii will welcome us with open arms!\nHere, \u201cwill\u201d is combined with \u201cwelcome\u201d to make a prediction.\nFuture Continuous Tense\nIf you want to discuss an ongoing action in the future, you need the future continuous tense:\nI will be lying in the sun this time next week!\nAs shown, the future continuous combines \u201cwill\/shall be\u201d and a present participle (i.e., an \u201c-ing\u201d verb).\nFuture Perfect Tense\nThe future perfect tense lets us project ourselves forward and reflect on something that hasn\u2019t yet happened. Specifically, the future perfect covers actions that will have been completed in the future:\nOnce I\u2019ve been to Hawaii, I will have visited every US state.\nThis tense is formed by combining \u201cwill\/shall have\u201d with a past participle.\nFuture Continuous Perfect\nThe difference between the future perfect and future perfect continuous tenses is that the future perfect continuous is used for ongoing actions that will have finished by a certain time:\nBy the end of this journey, we will have been traveling for a month.\nAs above, this tense usually describes an action that has already begun and specifies a time by which it will have ended. It is formed by combining \u201cwill\/shall have been\u201d with a present participle.\nWill or Shall?\nWe said at the beginning of this post that \u201cwill\u201d and \u201cshall\u201d are both used to express the future tense, but you may have noticed that we use \u201cwill\u201d in all of the examples above.\n\nIn the old days, \u201cshall\u201d was used with first-person pronouns (e.g. \u201cI shall\u201d) and \u201cwill\u201d with second and third-person pronouns (e.g., \u201cyou will\u201d or \u201cit will\u201d). Confusingly, these were then reversed to make an emphatic point, which is why the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella says, \u201cYou shall go to the ball!\u201d\n\nBut in modern American English, there are only two reasons to use \u201cshall\u201d:\n\n \tTo sound formal (e.g., a contract) or old-fashioned (e.g., a historical novel)\n \tTo ask a question in the first person (e.g., Shall I book the tickets tonight?)\n\nIn all other cases, \u201cwill\u201d is now standard with all pronoun types.\nOther Ways of Discussing the Future\nAs well as using \u201cwill\u201d or \u201cshall,\u201d English offers a couple of other ways to discuss the future:\n\n \tUse \u201cgoing to\u201d with an infinitive verb (e.g., The volcano is going to explode)\n \tCombine the present tense with a future time (e.g., It is happening tomorrow)\n\nYou can use these as alternatives to the future tense forms set out above.