There are lots of ways to express the future meaning in English. Everything depends on the message you want to convey. So, let’s look at the following examples.
When we talk about schedules, we use Present Simple:
Does the course finish on Friday or on Saturday?
Although, when we talk about plans or arrangements, some certain events in the future, we need to use the Present Continuous:
Are you meeting with your friends tonight, or are you staying in to do the chores?
We normally use present tenses in time clauses with such conjunctions as: as soon as, before, when, by the time, while, until, after, when we refer to the future:
When you see Mary, tell her she still owes me 150 dollars.
You should be fully ready by the time I get back.
We also use present tenses in conditional clauses with the conjunctions: unless, in case, provided, if.
If you can’t fix any problem, you’ll have to stop for a while and try to reduce stress somehow.
When we use: what if, suppose or supposing at the beginning of a sentence to talk about a possible future event, we should use Present Simple or Past Simple:
What if you miss the bus, shall I meet you then? – or
What if you missed the bus, shall I meet you then?
We can use the structure “to be going to” to talk about your future plans or intentions:
Are you going to pick up your sister after the party?
In news reports, when we talk about events that are likely to happen, we often use the structure “to be + to-infinitive”, giving instructions or orders and saying that something has been arranged.
Tom Brown is to win the Nobel Prize.
He is not to leave the college without my permission.
The British Parliament is to introduce a new stage of the standard law making procedure.
Also, we can use “to be + to-infinitive” to describe the future seen from the past:
She was to publish one more book about the twists and turns of her life before her death.
The structure “to be + to-infinitive” in an if-clause is mainly used to describe a goal when you need to emphasize what should be done in order to achieve it:
If you are to call a taxi now, you must arrive in time for the train’s departure.
The structure “to be about to + infinitive” is used in conversations to say that something will or won’t happen in the nearest future:
We are about to leave, do you want to go with us?
There are some phrases which are commonly used to refer to future actions or events. Their meaning is similar to the structure “to be about to + infinitive”.
They are: “to be on the verge of sth/of doing sth”, “to be on the brink of sth/of doing sth”, “to be on the point of sth/of doing sth”:
The scientists claim that they are on the brink of a very important discovery.
The tribe is on the verge of extinction due to the drought.
Also, we can use “to be due to + to - infinitive”, “to be sure/bound to + to - infinitive”, “to be set to + to - infinitive” to say that something is ready or expected to happen:
Steven Spielberg’s new film is set to be a marvelous success.
This bus is due to leave from the Central Station at 9 o’clock.
There are some verbs with a to-infinitive, which we often use to express our intentions: to agree, to expect, to hope, to mean, to aim, to intend, to plan, to promise, to resolve, to propose, to want, to guarantee:
I promise to do my best, if you trust me, otherwise I’ll give this project to Carl.
I really aim to have arrived in France by the end of August.