Present Simple vs Future Simple
When do people the present simple and when do we use will? Let’s look at some sentences with will (the future simple tense) and sentences without it to better understand the meaning will adds and why people use it.
Why do we use it?
We add will to show that something is not fixed. There are options or possibilities and a choice has been made.
The present form has a very general meaning. We use it for things that are generally true in the present.
We use will to say what we decide. There are two steps: deciding and doing. We think about options and decide in the present, so what we do happens in the future.
I eat breakfast. (in general)
I don’t play soccer. (in general)
Do you wake up early? (in general)
I will eat breakfast. (I have decided to)
I won’t play soccer. (I have decided not to)
Will you wake up early? (asking you to decide)
Some people say that will means future, but does it? Sentences without will can also refer to the future.
We use the present form for general information, such as fixed schedules. (This is more common – it is good to use simple sentences.)
Using will shows that the speaker is considering different possibilities. (In many situation this is also fine)
The bus arrives at 6:30. (fixed – this happens at this time)
The bus will arrive at 6:30. (maybe thinking about possible arrival times)
We use the present form to say what is generally true now.
We use will for predictions. We consider possibilities and say what we predict.
I live in England now. (general statement)
I don’t have children. (general statement)
Do you live in an apartment? (general statement)
I‘ll become a professional footballer and live in England when I’m older. (a prediction)
I won’t have children. I can’t imagine being a parent. (a prediction)
Will you still live in an apartment in 10 years’ time? (a prediction)
Predictions often refer to the future. However, we can also predict the present:
She is at work now. (stating a fact – where she is)
She will be at work now. (thinking about possibilities and predicting where she is)
Will is also used with general statements: when we want to emphasize what someone generally decides to do, or for general predictions that we expect to happen. (in general – not just one time in the future)
When there is something I don’t understand, I relax and think about it and it eventually makes more sense.
When there is something I don’t understand, I’ll relax and think about it and it’ll eventually make more sense.
Accidents will happen.
We use the present form to make basic statements about what is generally true.
We add will when there are other possibilities to think about.
Water boils at a lower temperature at a higher altitude. (expressing this as fact)
Water will boil at a lower temperature at a higher altitude. (expressing this as a fact that is another possibility to think about)
To understand the difference between the present simple and future simple:
Understand the meaning of will.
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