Can the present be used for the future?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,283 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
The present tense used for future time?

A student recently had difficulty with this idea, that we can use the present tense in English to talk about the future.

First, remember that there is no future tense in English. Instead, there is future time, and ways to talk about the future. Many Latin-based languages have specific endings for verbs which show that the time is in the future. This is not the case in English.

In general, English uses "will" for the future or "am / is / are going to".

But we can also use the present tense.

For example, "The train arrives at 6 o'clock this afternoon."

It is not yet afternoon, but we can predict that the train will arrive at 6 pm. The present is usually used when there is a time element involved.

Next week we have an important exam.
Today? I go to the doctor's at 10 am, then I am free.

Do not be surprised to see the present tense used when we are talking about something in the future!

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