Present simple and continuous with future meaning

What’s new everyone?

It’s that time of the day again where we start to focus on our English and what we can do to improve it. Today we are going to be looking at the present simple and present continuous tenses and how we can use them in English to express a future meaning.

When do we use the present simple to refer to the future?

It is not the most common use of a present tense verb referring to the future (the present continuous is more common), but we do use the present simple to refer to organised future events which have already been arranged.


The office closes at 5 O’clock today

The flight leaves before lunchtime tomorrow

My friend arrives from Chicago on Wednesday

In all of these examples, we have used the present simple when referring to the future. This is because all of these events have been pre-arranged in relation to time. This can also be used in the interrogative form too.

When do we use the present continuous to refer to the future?

There are a couple of ways in which we can use the present continuous to refer to the future in English. One of them is referring to an action which you are about to start in the immediate future.


I’m going to visit my gran in 5 minutes

They are leaving for the airport in a moment

We’re going shopping once I finish my homework

Another way in which we use the present continuous is for future plans which are generally agreed between more than one person.


I’m going to Spain with my friend in August

They’re coming to visit us in Summer

He’s flying to Miami in July

Sometimes it is not overly clear who the arrangement is with- like in the last example where it only mentions “he” as a subject. In this case we could interpret that “he” has his arrangement with the airline as they are the ones who will be taking him,

What’s the next step?

As we know, the future simple in English is always constructed with “will”, however it is important that we understand and try to incorporate the present tenses referring to the future into our own English, as this is very common among native speakers.

To continue learning English, remember to sign up to our course. It’s completely free and you will be able to access all our video classes and the first unit of every level right from the beginning.

Good luck!

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