How to Use the Future Tense in English Without Saying “Will

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Have you heard people talk about things that will happen in the distant future in English?

Are there things that you plan or anticipate happening far off into the future?

Do you want to know how to talk about these things in conversation?

Today we are talking about the things that will happen in the distant future.

We will look at the phrases to use to talk about the distant future, how to discuss this, and we will complete this series where we focus on and talk about the future.

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Talking About The Distant Future

This series in talking about the future has been fun and hopefully very helpful to you.

In the previous episodes of this series (1525 and 1528), we shared expressions to talk about the immediate future and the near future.

Now we want to shift the focus a bit and talk about the distant future, as that is something that will come up in conversation a lot.

There are a lot of native phrases for talking about the distant future.

Today we’ll teach you four of these that can make you sound like a native as you can use them in your conversations seamlessly.

Using these expressions can help you with planning, and help you build connections in English any time you are referring to something that will happen eventually.

These phrases are helpful when you are talking about something that will occur at a more distant time in the future.

You will find that when you are talking about the idea of someday or talking about something that is a bit more far off, that you want the right phrase to say it.

These phrases are so helpful in that way, and they can help you when you are planning something or talking about something that is so far out that you may not even be able to envision it yet.

We all like to think about the future, and you may like to plan things—and now you will have a way to talk about it with others in an effective manner.

Phrases To Talk About The Distant Future

When you are talking about something further out into the future, it takes on a different tone.

This is when you are planning for something or waiting anxiously for something.

It may be something that you are familiar with and are therefore excited about.

It may be something that you are new to, but you highly anticipate.

Whatever the case may be, you can use these phrases to talk about the things that are further out into the future.

1) Sooner or later / bound to happen eventually: These both have a similar meaning that something is inevitable. It will definitely happen sometime in the future. The time period as to when it will happen is unknown, but you know it will be coming. It could be soon or far in the future, and though you don’t know when you know it’s going to occur.

You can use this phrase in a variety of ways to talk about things in a good or bad way. “Eat your vegetables! You’re going to have to eat them sooner or later.” “Sooner or later you’re going to realize why you need to get to bed at a decent hour!” “My brother hasn’t met the right person yet, but it’s bound to happen eventually.”

*You can add any verb between bound and eventually for a perfect way to offset this phrase “That chair is bound to break eventually if you stand on it like that.” (eventually is optional but works here) “If we keep working toward it, we’re bound to reach our goals eventually.”

2) In our lifetime / In my lifetime: This is like talking about something that will happen in the next 50-60 years. You can use “in our lifetime” for more general things that affect everyone. These are the very far out things that you know or anticipate will happen, but you just don’t know exactly when.

This is very far out, and it basically means you hope or plan to see it sometime during your lifetime. “He thinks life on other planets will be found in our lifetime.” “With the advances we’re seeing in medicine, I believe cancer will be cured in our lifetime.” “In my lifetime” is intended to be used for personal things that only affect you. “I don’t think I’ll visit Antarctica in my lifetime.”

3) I’ll get around to it: This basically means that you’ll do it in the future when you have time. This means that it’s not urgent and you will make time for it, but only when you have the time. This is intended for tasks that aren’t urgent in nature. You can almost feel that it’s something that can wait, or that you aren’t making it a huge priority. “I’ll get around to fixing my bike once the snow melts.” “I haven’t gotten around to that yet.”

4) Time will tell: This is talking about something that will be revealed in the coming months or years. A situation is uncertain, but will be certain in the future. It’s almost as if you are trying to predict the future, but you know that time will reveal things and what will occur.

It’s uncertain as to when you can count on it, but this will or should happen at some point in time. “Time will tell if this new political administration will keep its promises.” *This phrase can often be a stand-alone answer as well such as in this example. “Do you think your puppy will be potty trained soon? Time will tell.”

All of these phrases work for talking about something in the distant future, and you can try them out in the right situation.

Though you may not necessarily know that something will happen, you can talk about the likelihood that it will occur at some point in time.

Roleplay To Help

In this roleplay, Aubrey and Lindsay are talking about something that they see happening at some point in time likely during their lifetime.

Aubrey: “What’s something you think will change in our lifetime?”

Lindsay: “I think sooner or later all vehicles will be electric. It’s inevitable since oil is a finite resource.”

Aubrey: “Yeah, that’s bound to happen. The auto industry is definitely headed that way.”

Lindsay: “What about you? Any changes you think will happen in your lifetime?”

Aubrey: “I think we’ll figure out ways to use solar energy more. More solar panels on the roofs of buildings and homes. Maybe solar powered cars.”

Lindsay: “Have you thought about getting solar panels?”

Aubrey: “Yes! Many homes in Arizona have them, because it’s sunny almost every day here. It’s very expensive upfront, though, but they pay for themselves in time with savings on your electric bill and there are tax credits, too. I think I’ll get around to it, eventually.”

Lindsay: “You’re probably right that we’ll figure out a way to make it less cost-prohibitive for businesses and homeowners to have them installed.”

Aubrey: “Time will tell!”

Takeaway

These native phrases for talking about the future will really take your English speaking level up a notch.

They add color and interest which makes a conversation more interesting and dynamic, and that’s a great benefit in conversation—this is how you build connections!

Practice using these phrases the next time you talk about anything that will happen in the distant future.

In this series, we taught you ways to talk about the immediate future, the near future and the distant future, so with some practice, you’ll be prepared to talk about anything that will happen at some point in time.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.



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