When I'm writing an article, and I want to tell my readers what I'm going to do in the subsequent text, can I use the present, or do I always have to use a construction expressing the future? For instance, would the following be correct:

First I explain basic terminology, and after that, I move on to...

Or do I have to use a construction expressing the future, as in

First I will explain basic terminology, and after that I will move on to...

Thank you for your help!

1 Answer 1


You can use the first formulation, although it does sound rather colloquial. English does permit the use of the present tense when describing future events but these are almost always preceded by a contextualisation that the event in question will occur some time in the future. So to adapt your first formulation:

For my subsequent article, I first explain basic terminology and then move on to...

But you still run the risk of it sounding colloquial, depending on the context.

As an addendum, you should not be using the Oxford comma here, which only applies in a list larger than two.

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