I did search on the internet. but I couldn't still understand well how to use simple present for future. every grammar book says "simple present is used for events in the future which are 'timetabled, scheduled"

  1. What does here timetable / schedule mean?

  2. What is the difference between present simple (when used for future) and present continuous (when used for future)?

    For example, Difference between the sentence

    The sun rises at 6.00 tomorrow


    The sun is rising at 6.00 tomorrow

  • Related question 1, related question 2 Nov 22, 2014 at 14:19
  • 2
    See also What's will? on Language Log.
    – user230
    Nov 22, 2014 at 14:56
  • @snailboat Is it true that only some verbs can be used with simple present to talk about a future?
    – Dinusha
    Nov 22, 2014 at 16:51
  • 3
    @Dinusha The link you've provided is incorrect. Verbs which aren't on that list can appear in the present simple form with a future time meaning, for example when discussing future plans: "Tomorrow I walk ten miles, and the day after I walk twenty." Walk does not appear on the list the author presents. For another example, see rise in "The sun rises at 6:00 tomorrow" from CopperKettle's answer below. This verb doesn't appear on their list, either.
    – user230
    Nov 22, 2014 at 17:06
  • 1
    @snail - Yikes! If only that column said, "Verbs like the ones below..." instead of "Only the verbs below..." I don't see how that blogger can include the word fly yet omit the verb drive: We drive to Paris next week. If it works for fly, it should work for drive, too.
    – J.R.
    Nov 24, 2014 at 12:29

1 Answer 1


1.What does here timetable / schedule mean?

Let's take the sentence

The sun rises at 6.00 tomorrow.

Timetable means that you personally played no part in causing the sun to rise at 6.00 tomorrow. The sun follows the laws of nature, like a train following a timetable. It will likely follow the same laws for a long time yet, and have been following them for a long time.

Imagine a person saying to his friend:

The train to Yuma stops in our town at 3:10 tomorrow.

The person is not the owner of the train company and he has not decided the time of the arrival of the train. He had consulted the timetable on the wall, a timetable probably hanging there for months or years.

Let's now look at

The sun is rising at 6.00 tomorrow

The sentence is not very natural. Looking up "the sun is rising at * tomorrow" on Google brings up only 34 results, all seemingly related to the discussion of tenses in English.

The Present Progressive is used to refer to future events that have some "present reality". We usually employ this tense in discussing our personal plans.

Imagine I've just decided to wake up at 6:00 tomorrow:

Off with this laziness of mine! I'm rising at 6:00 tomorrow.

So, in a fantasy novel some wizard might say:

(wizard) Thanks to my magic, the sun is rising at 6:00 tomorrow!
(wizard's apprentice) But this time of the year, the sun rises at 7:00!
(wizard) See how powerful my magic is - tomorrow, the sun is rising a whole hour ahead of its usual schedule/timetable!

Reference: Michael Swan, Practical English Usage, Unit 214: "Future(4): Present Progressive"

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