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     Volume 2 Issue 13 | June 23 , 2007 |


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Learner's Club

Talking about the Future and More Phrases

Using future forms
There are many ways of talking about the future in English. Which way you choose depends on how you see the future. Is the future event planned or unplanned, a schedule, or a prediction?

Making predictions
You can use both will and going to to make predictions.

For example, "I think the Labour party will lose the next election." Or "I think the Labour party are going to lose the next election."

If you can make a prediction based on what you see now, we use going to.

For example, "You're driving too fast, you're going to hit the car in front!"

Future plans and arrangements

If something has already been planned, use going to with the verb, or the Present Continuous tense.

"I'm going to take my exams next month."

"He's visiting a client on Tuesday."

Unplanned future

When we decide to do something at the moment of speaking, we use will.

"The phone's ringing - I'll answer it." (You only answer the phone when it starts ringing.)

Future schedules

When we want to talk about a schedule, we use the Present Simple tense.

"The plane leaves in half an hour - we'd better hurry."

"Next week I fly to Italy, then on Tuesday, I'm in Spain."

Events in progress at a time in the future

To talk about something that will be in progress at a time in the future, use will be doing.

"For example, "This time next week, I'll be sitting on a plane."

We can also use this form to make polite requests.

"Will you be using the car tomorrow?" (If you won't, can I use it?)

Events that will be completed by a time in the future

If you want to say that something will be completed by a time in the future, use will have done.

"I'll have finished the report by this afternoon."



Final tip

Many learners of English overuse will and going to. Try using all the different future forms so that you become more confident.

Two-word phrases
In spoken English, we often use two-word phrases, such as "bye-bye". Here are some of the more common two word phrases.

so-so = OK: "How was the meeting?" "So-so - it was nice to see everyone, but we didn't get anything decided."

on-off = not constant: "They have a very on-off relationship."

love-hate = having feelings for someone / something which swing from love to hate: "I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my car."

mish-mash = when things are combined together and so appear untidy: "The new policy is a bit of a mish-mash of the last two policies we've had."

riff-raff = quite a 'snobby' expression to describe people you think are lower in class than you: "Lets send out invitations for the party. We don't want the town's riff-raff turning up and eating all the food."

chit-chat = small talk or unimportant conversation: "He asked us to stop our chit-chat and get on with our work."

knick-knack = an ornament: "She's got a lot of knick-knacks - I'm always afraid I'm going to break one."

ship-shape = everything in its right place: "I want to leave the place ship-shape when we go on holiday."

zig-zag = diagonally: "He lost control of the car and it zig-zagged across the road."

ding-dong = an argument: "They've had a bit of a ding-dong and they're not talking to each other at the moment."

higgledy-piggledy = in a mess: "That bookshelf is all higgledy-piggledy!"

wishy-washy = weak opinion, argument or person: "His argument is a bit wishy-washy - I don't get the impression that he really knows what he wants to think."

easy-peasey = something that children often say to emphasise how easy something is: "This program is easy-peasey - I understood it in half an hour!"

flip-flops = rubber sandals with a thong that goes between your big and second toe: "I lived in my flip-flops when I was staying on the beach."

see-saw = something that goes up and down (like the piece of wood in a playground - a child sits on each end and these ends go up an down): "The English pound has see-sawed against the American dollar for the last two weeks."



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