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Using the is when we refer to something known to the reader or something specific. It is not clear to me how to deal with a word like future. Here is an example:

They may get access to the book at some point in the future.

Is it:

At some point in future

Or

At some point in the future

  • the future. There is only one, right? – user3169 Nov 11 '18 at 0:19
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This is a much-discussed and complicated topic that manifests transatlantic differences. In American English, the generally accepted term is "in the future". And it has two meanings: 1. from now on; 2. at a future point in time

If you follow the tradition of AmE, it is perfectly fine to say

at some point in the future

However, BrE has a different term "in future" without the definite article. It only shares one of the two meanings: "from now on". As Colin Fine said in a comment, if you follow BrE and would like to use that phrase, you can't use it to mean a specific point in time. You can say:

Keep in mind what I told you and don't make the same mistake again in future.

In view of the differences in usage between AmE and BrE, such sentences would be considered non-idiomatic in either BrE or AmE:

I will buy a new laptop in future.*

They may get access to the book at some point in future.*

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You should say

at some point in the future

because there is only one future.

The only time you would use "future" without "the" is when using it as an adjective to describe objects in the future, such as:

Please make future requests using the online form.

  • This is not correct. "In future" is a perfectly good adverbial phrase. However, it has a general meaning, not a specifc one, so I would use it on its own, not qualifying a nominal like "some point". In future I shall know who to ask. – Colin Fine Nov 13 '18 at 19:18
  • @ColinFine Perhaps this is a regional difference, as I live in the USA. I have never heard someone say "in future" as an adverbial phrase, and I would expect such use to be corrected to "in the future". – Tashus Nov 13 '18 at 19:27
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    It does seem to be regional, @Tashus. Searching for "in future -NOUN" (i.e., followed by not-a-noun) in GloWbE, gives 4243 hits in GB, against 1490 in US. The corresponding numbers for "in the future -NOUN" are GB 18041 vs US 17217. – Colin Fine Nov 15 '18 at 0:03

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