When most Japanese people talk about something in the future, most of the time they end up going with 'will.'
It's a great word and is used a lot in the English language. But do you know what? Native speakers don't use it half as much as people in Japan.
When you 'will' on its own, it has a very serious and somewhat conservative tone to it. I'd like to teach you some more relaxed and natural ways to talk about the future.
So without further ado, let’s get started with the first point.
① WILL + Something
Probably the best way to start is with WILL. But what is will? I mean really.
It’s used for future plans that you have just decided at the moment of speaking
I’ll have a salad
I’ll pick you up at 5
OK, I’ll send you an email later
But if you use it TOO MUCH for future plans, it sounds kind of robotic and a little heavy.
We need to soften it to make it more relaxed and conversational.
How do we do it?
We just add some extra magical words
You might be thinking, Scott those are such simple words. Do they really make a difference?
Yes, they do. There is a HUUUUUUGE difference! Believe me.
Let’s see how we use them!
What are you doing at the weekend?
I will stay home.
I’m not sure. I guess I’ll stay home.
Any plans for dinner?
I will grab something at the supermarket.
I guess I’ll just grab something at the supermarket.
Let’s look at how to use ‘maybe’
Where are you going to buy his present?
I will buy it online.
Maybe, I’ll buy it online. I haven’t decided yet.
How are you going to get to the party?
I will take the train.
Maybe I’ll take the train.
Here’s how we use ‘think’
What university are you going to apply to?
I will apply to Waseda University.
Not sure. I think I’ll apply to Waseda University.
Have you thought of a name for the baby yet?
I will call him Kentaro.
I think we’ll call him Kentaro.
Let’s look at probably
What movie are you going to see?
We will watch the new Avengers movie.
We’ll probably watch the new Avengers movie.
Any plans for the summer?
I will not go anywhere.
I probably won’t go anywhere.
Of course by using these special words we are lowering the possibility of actually doing something.
But that’s ok.
It seems more natural and less robotic. Just like the way REAL people talk.
I have taught this a gazillion times in my classes.
People use it for a few minutes in the lesson, but quickly slip back into using WILL.
Slip back into means to start doing a bad habit again.
In English we often use the
present progressive verb tense 現在進行形
be + verb + ing
to talk about future events which have already been planned.
It’s pretty much the same as ‘going to.’
Time words in the sentence such as next week, next year, tomorrow make it clear that the action is not happening at this moment.
A lot of people think ‘ing’ verbs are only for right now, but that is not the case.
We use ‘ing’ for the future all the time. It’s probably the MOST COMMON way
to speak about plans for the future.
Here’s how it works
What are you doing this afternoon?
I will have lunch with my family at COCOs.
I’m having lunch with my family at COCOs.
It’s also really common to ASK about future plans using the ‘ing’ form.
Are you going back to the UK this year?
Yes, I will go back in August.
Yes, I’m going back in August.
How are you paying for your new car?
I will pay for it in cash.
I’m paying for it in cash.
So using ‘ing’ verbs is such a natural way to talk about future plans and it’s so easy!!
I STRONGLY recommend you to use it.
③ 未来を示す GOING TO
‘Going to’ is used for definite plans you have already decided.
It’s close to 100% probability
‘Going to’ is often shortened to ‘gonna.’
I’m gonna go shopping this afternoon.
What are you gonna do this weekend?
John said he’s gonna get married this summer.
Whenever I talk to beginners, they always translate this to
I don’t know about you, But I don’t think this is the best translation.
It’s good and the meaing is correct, but it doesn’t have the right 'feeling.'
Ok, look at it like this.
Imagine you are talking with your friend and she says
Do you speak like that? This is just my opinion, but I think most people would say
I find people get caught up on the するつもり meaning and it really affects their ability to speak fluently and more naturally.
What do you think?
'WILL' is an extremely important word in English, but we have to be aware of the subtle nuances that the word can have. Use it in moderation and to sound more 'natural,' follow the 3 points of advice I talked about. Please watch the VIDEO LESSON on YouTube!
Thanks for reading!
without further ado
apply to ～
lowering the possibility of ～
present progressive tense
a gazillion times
slip back into ～ing
get caught up on ～