The future tense is a verb tense used for a future activity or a future state of being. For example: I will jump in the lake. (This is a future activity.) I will be happy. (This is a future state of being.)


But here, I think, tense and time are confused.

"I will jump in the lake."

Here, actually, the verb "jump" is in present tense, but future time is denoted by the modal 'will'.

"I will be happy."

Here, the verb "be" is in present tense, but future time is denoted by the modal 'will'.

Is there any future tense in English grammar?

2 Answers 2


This is a case where a simple common sense approach to teaching English is at odds with the formal definitions of some linguists.

To those who define tense as a modification of a verb to indicate time, English has two tenses, "past" and "non-past".

However, English tends to be analytic, and where other languages use a tense (changing the form of the verb) English uses syntax. It is quite reasonable to talk about the "will future tense", the "going to future", the "present continuous", the "present perfect" and so on.

The combination of words "will + verb" functions very much like the combination of morphemes "verb root + future suffix" in languages like French. It is unnecessarily pedantic and potentially confusing to insist that this isn't a "tense" for anyone who is learning English.

Of particular note in the question is the assertion that in the phrase "will jump", the verb "jump" is in present tense. It isn't, it is a bare infinitive and doesn't have any tense. This is most clearly seen in the second example where "be" is never present tense.

While I said that English has two tenses, this definition of tense is not universal, and some include all modification of the verb phrase to indicate time as a tense, and not just modifiction of the verb. In this definition of tense, modifying a verb by using a modal like "will" is tense.

So be not afraid of calling "will jump" the future tense of the verb "jump".


According to tense definition:

tense (noun): a verb-based method used to indicate the time, and sometimes the continuation or completeness, of an action or state in relation to the time of speaking.

Also here is the answer to your question:

Note that many grammarians take the view that there are only two tenses in English: present tense and past tense.

  • Then, we should not use the term 'future tense' in English grammar. Dec 17, 2020 at 7:57
  • 1
    We shouldn't, but that's just common misconception that many English teachers pass to their students around the world. Dec 17, 2020 at 7:58
  • The fact that your second quote mentions "many grammarians" implies that there are other grammarians who take a different view, and that the answer to the question is debatable.
    – The Photon
    Jan 16, 2021 at 18:06
  • 1
    The traditional view is an unfortunate holdover from the centuries when European scholars regarded Latin as the perfect language, so "grammar" meant mainly Latin grammar, and any other language's grammar had to be twisted and bent to get it to fit into the pattern of Latin grammar. Latin had a future tense, so every language had to have one. The problem with calling "I will go" a future tense is that that invites the question "What tense is I can go? I must go? etc " The answer, of course, is that they are not tenses. But then, why is I will go a tense? Syntactically they're identical
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 16, 2021 at 21:53

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