Could anyone explain the meaning of the phrase "in my lifetime" to me? I don't really understand why it needs Future Simple exclusively.

People won't live on the Moon in my lifetime.

Is it possible to use Present Simple with "in one's lifetime" if the one is still alive and relates to the present.

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


"In my lifetime" refers to a period beginning the day I was born and ending the day I die. It would typically be used for either something in the past or future.

The smartphone was invented in my lifetime.

Man will probably visit Mars in my lifetime.

To speak of a current event (present simple) sort of negates the reason why you would scope a happening in your lifetime. The event is now, not at some tenuous point in time.

One could say:

The waiter is filling my glass in my lifetime.

While the sentence may be grammatically correct, the wording is silly and awkward. It is much clearer to say, "The waiter is filling my glass now."

  • 3
    To those examples could be added Humankind will not have colonized Mars in my lifetime.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 11:21

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