I was reading a grammar book called Essential Grammar in Use. As for the usage of "Will" it gives the examples bellow:

Sue travels a lot. Today she is in Madrid. Tomorrow she'll be in Rome. Next week she'll be in Tokyo.

You can phone me this evening. I'll be at home.

Leave the old bread in the garden. The birds will eat it.

We'll probably go out this evening.

Will you be at home this evening?

I won't be here tomorrow.

Don't drink coffee before you go to bed. You won't sleep.

I read on many websites that when we use will for future decisions, it means that our decision is made at the time of speaking. Now, my question is, in this example "You can phone me this evening. I'll be at home.", is 'being at home' is a decision the speaker made? If so, could it be one made at the time of speaking?

  • The most common use of will is simply as an auxiliary verb to neutrally reference future actions (needed because English verbs don't actually have a "future tense" form). Sometimes (particularly, when stressed) it can indicate deliberate and/or persistent action, as in He will keep poking fun at me, but I've really had enough of it now. Other times it indicates volition, as in the imperative Do what you will. It makes no difference to me. But that last one's a bit "dated". Aug 3, 2017 at 16:41
  • @FumbleFingers Yeah, neutrally reference future actions, in my book, makes it a future. I don't agree with the linguists who say English only has two tenses. The British Council explains will very well: learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/….
    – Lambie
    Dec 2, 2023 at 16:33
  • English can probably express as many different "moods, tenses" as any language. But obviously, "future" in English can only be expressed using an auxiliary / modal verb. The only "tense"-based morphological variant of a verb is Past. So from my perspective it's quite true that English only has two tenses - the only area where there's scope for disagreement concerns whether to call them "Present" and "not-Present" or "Past" and "Not-Past". But I'm sure you know already know that's what I think. Dec 2, 2023 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


"Will" is generally used to indicate some future action or event, nothing more.

I will go to the baseball game tomorrow.

While it can be used in the context of a decision -- yes, the speaker does decide relative to a future event, but otherwise you have to read the surrounding context to know when the decision was made.

For example, in the sentence above, I could have bought the baseball tickets a month ago, or yesterday, or today, or just now. We have no way of knowing without more information.

A: I will go to the baseball game tomorrow.
B: Nice, when did you get the tickets?
A: Just a few minutes ago. I can get you some too, if you want to come along?

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