Future Forms – Will, Going to & the Present Continuous

English learners can find the different English future forms quite intimidating and often just stick to the simple future will form to stay on the safe side. Here are some activities for teaching and comparing the different forms in applicable circumstances.

Online Future Exercises

You can find online future forms exercises and activities at our online-focused site LearnHip.com.

Present Continuous – For Future Arrangements

making arrangements

The present continuous is often used to talk about the kinds of activities that you would put in your Outlook Calendar.

In this activity students are given a copy of a blank weekly appointment planner. Their task is to arrange a fun activity with each member of the class.

First brainstorm some of the language that might be needed and put it on the board. Have pairs of students model the activity openly and make any corrections and additions you feel necessary.  You might come up with some phrases like these:

What are you doing on Tuesday morning?

Would you like to go fishing on Friday?

No, I hate fishing!

Sorry, I’m busy then, I’m playing badminton with Jennifer. How about Tuesday at twelve?

I’m afraid I can’t do Tuesday afternoon; I’m having lunch with Maria.

How is 10am for you?


Students should now circulate and try to arrange a suitable activity with each member of the class. Make sure that they write the appointment in the relevant time slots on the planner.  The activity will get harder as their schedules begin to fill up.

When everyone has finished. Have the students take it in turns to report some of the highlights of their coming week.


If you have a small class, you might want to use this simple planner which has fewer time slots.

Further activities

As a follow-up activity you could have students write a report about what happened on one of their ‘dates’.

Present Continuous Future Printables

Going To Activities

Fortune Telling Runes

As well as for talking about future plans, we also use the going to future form to make predictions based on current evidence, for example, it’s going to fall over, he’s going to win, she’s going to have a baby, etc.

In this telling the future activity, students practise predicting future event using going to + verb based on the evidence they see in some mystic runes.

If you don’t fancy cutting up lots of pieces of paper, there’s an online fortune telling activity at our partner site LearnHip.com.

Print and cut up some fortune-telling runes (ok, it’s clip-art). You will need at least thirty symbols per pair of students, so there’s a bit of scissor work involved.

If you need more symbols a google search provides a rich vein, here are some examples.

Conjure up the image of a fortune-teller waving their hands over a crystal ball and tell students they are soon going to read their partner’s fortune.

Try to elicit examples of events which a fortune teller might predict, for example:

I see a handsome stranger in your future
You are going to meet an old friend
You are going to spend some time in a foreign country
You are going to have a lot of children
Your son is going to be a lawyer
You are going to be very successful

Write these ideas on the board and review the use of the going to future form to talk about predicting the future based on present (visible) evidence.

Make sure you model the next stage with a student!

Put students into pairs and give each pair a container full of cut-up runes. Students take it in turns to select runes from the cup, one or two at a time, and then use these runes to make meaningful predictions about their partner’s future.

At the end of the activity go around the class and find out what destiny has in store for each of them.

Going to Future Printable

Future with Will

Will prompts

Use these prompts to practise making spontaneous decisions and offers. Give each student or pair of students a copy of the prompt sheet and have them brainstorm possible responses using will. Make sure you focus on the pronunciation of I’ll. Now get the students in pairs to read prompts from the sheet and respond (but without using their notes).

The World in 2035

This simple to set up activity, which you can use to practise will for predictions, gives students free rein to speculate on any changes they think might be coming down the pipe.

Give each student a copy of this making predictions worksheet and elicit a few ideas about one of the topics. Write down a couple of examples on the board explaining that will and also going to are usually used to make predictions about the future. Put students in pairs and allow ten to fifteen minutes for them to discuss the topics and write down a few ideas in each box. Stress that full sentences are not necessary.

Go through the topics one at a time, listening to each student’s ideas, putting nice examples on the board, correcting grammar and feeding in vocabulary when necessary.

Will Future Printables

Comparing Future Forms

Holiday plans

Using an upcoming holiday as an example, we might talk about pre-arranged plans such as the flight, the duration of the stay and accommodation using the present continuous. For example,

We’re flying with Lufthansa
We’re staying in a hotel in the old quarter
We’re coming back on the 14th  

However, for plans which are not so fixed, such as visiting a well-known site or taking part in certain activities, we would probably choose to use going to + verb to talk about. For example,

We’re going to see the sites and enjoy the nightlife
I’m going to do some shopping
I’m going to lie on the beach and read some books

You could ask students to talk about upcoming (real or imaginary) holiday plans using these two future forms, or you could set groups of students the task of arranging a class holiday and then presenting the plan using these two future forms. Students could then vote on which holiday they would most like to go on.

To practise Will, ask the student to consider that they might do but are not certain. Will sentences often begin with maybe, it’s possible or I think.

Maybe we will visit the statue of liberty.

It’s possible, I will visit some museums.

Travel Possibilities

Give pairs or small groups of students a copy of this worksheet and two dice. Each student takes it in turns to roll two dice to select the grammar form and then again to choose a destination. Then they must try to make a sentence about a suitable intention for that particular trip. For example:

I might eat a bagel in New York

I’m not likely to need suncream in Stockholm