Present form or Will?
Present Simple vs Future Simple

When do people the present form 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 speakers choose to 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.

We use the present form to say what generally happens. This is 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.

present simple tense timeline - in general - many times

I eat breakfast. (in general)
I don’t play soccer. (in general)
Do you wake up early? (in general)

future simple tense timeline - will: modal verb - decision or prediction - there are options or possibilities

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)

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)

present simple tense timeline - schedule - fixed future

The bus arrives at 6:30. (fixed – this happens at this time)

future simple tense timeline - will: modal verb - decision or prediction - there are options or possibilities

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.

present simple tense timeline - general truths

I live in England now. (general statement)
I don’t have children. (general statement)
Do you live in an apartment? (general statement)

future simple tense timeline - will: modal verb - decision or prediction - there are options or possibilities

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)

We can also predict the present:

present simple tense timeline - describing the present

She is at work now. (stating a fact – where she is)

future simple tense timeline - will: modal verb - present prediction - there are possibilities

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)

present simple tense timeline - in general - many times

When there is something I don’t understand, I relax and think about it and it eventually makes more sense.

Accidents happen.

future simple tense timeline - will: modal verb - for general statements - there are options or possibilities

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.

present simple tense timeline - general truths

Water boils at a lower temperature at a higher altitude. (expressing this as fact)

future simple tense timeline -will: modal verb - general truth - consider another possibility

Water will boil at a lower temperature at a higher altitude. (expressing this as a fact that is another possibility to think about)