Let's say that I utter the following:

I will leave tomorrow.

Would it be ungrammatical to say the following the next day:

I would leave tomorrow.

I know that the following are grammatical and felicitous:

(1) I was going to leave tommorow.

(2) I was leaving tomorrow.

Interestingly, the past simple counterpart of (2) is ungrammatical.

*I left tomorrow.

What do you think?

  • could you give more context before saying "I would leave tomorrow"?
    – Ahmad
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 9:17
  • The context of the question is saying it on the day of arrival: "Would it be ungrammatical to say the following the next day:"
    – shin
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


The sentence, "I would leave tomorrow", is grammatical, but is lacking some sense (subjunctive mood)

The Subjunctive Mood

A verb is in the subjunctive mood when it expresses a condition which is doubtful or not factual. It is most often found in a clause beginning with the word if. It is also found in clauses following a verb that expresses a doubt, a wish, regret, request, demand, or proposal.

Source: http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000031.htm

"If I would leave tomorrow..." (correct)


(1) I was going to leave tommorow. <- WRONG (tomorrow indicates a future time reference, you cannot use it considering the context you provided)

"I am going to leave tomorrow." (correct, the day before leaving) "I left [yesterday]." (arrival)

(2) I was leaving tomorrow. <- WRONG (same as above)

"I will be leaving tomorrow." (correct, the day before leaving) "I left [yesterday]." (arrival)

I will not discuss the use of past progressive here, but I'll provide a link http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/pastcontinuous.html

*I left tomorrow. <- WRONG (same reason)

You cannot say, "I ate tomorrow" in the same way that you cannot say "I will eat yesterday".

per definition:

tomorrow [tuh-mawr-oh, -mor-oh]


1. the day following today: Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny.

2. a future period or time: the stars of tomorrow.

Since 'tomorrow' is a future time reference, it is wrong to use it in the above quoted sentences. The point here is you cannot simply use a future time reference in a sentence referring to a past action. Also, it is ungrammatical to say "I would leave tomorrow" (in the context the OP provided). 'Will' is a modal used to indicate future tense, hence the main verb's tense should be changed. As above explained, you may use it if you are indicating a subjunctive mood.

Remember that leave/leaves (present); left (PAST); and will leave(future).

  • 1
    "I was leaving tomorrow" is perfectly grammatical and felicitous.
    – user132181
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 9:06
  • Your context provides that you want to say it after you left, on the day you arrived to the place. No. That cannot be. My explanation refers to the context you provided.
    – shin
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 9:13
  • "I was leaving tomorrow, but then I chose to leave yesterday, so here I am now" — maybe "I was going to leave tomorrow" is more natural, but people use the first phrasing too.
    – bjb568
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 17:49

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