The Use of Time Markers in English Part III: Future Tenses B


Sticking to Pastor Tom, the German Church and some holidays, while picking up from Part A, we will now have a look at the time markers that differentiate among the five known future tenses plus the conditional would. While time markers are well known for the past and present verb tenses, many people think that time markers are rare in future tense, and if they exist, then only for all of them. One size fits all. Uniformity is everything.

Linguists, Teachers and those who are of that mentality may want to rethink this notion for a bit. As you can see in Parts One and Two, even the usage of time markers can make a difference within the given time forms. That means, time markers can separate the meanings between present simple and present continuous, as well as between present perfect and past perfect.

While there are five different types of future tenses, each type has its own set of time markers. While the preposition of time (at, in and on), next (week, month, year, etc.,) and tomorrow are used for all five forms, plus the conditional would, here are some time markers that make each future type distinctive:


always, mostly, mainly, often, never, sometime(s),  (un-)usually, normally, traditionally,  certain days, weeks, months and years, each/every (day, week, month, year,….), daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, annually, bi-annually and regularly, there is/are


(right) now, today, this (week, year, decade, evening, morning, afternoon, etc.), in a second/bit/while/moment, soon, within a given time


(right) now, right/straight away, tonight, tomorrow, this morning/evening, in the coming days/week, for the next (…..), next (week), by morning/tonight, later, as soon as possible, (very) soon, for now/awhile, There will be, before, after, afterwards, in advance, prior to


tonight, tomorrow, this morning/evening, in the coming days/week, for the next (…..), next (week), later, (very) soon, after, afterwards, sometime, someday


tonight, tomorrow, this evening/morning/afternoon, next (….), in a (minutes/hour), within a given time, until then/a given time, before, after


by (given time), by next (week, month, etc.), by/at that time, by then, during that time, while, before (….)


If……then, Should…….then, in advance

There is some overlap among the five future tenses, but when looking at them carefully, one will see the fine print as to when and how time markers are used as well as determining what future tenses are used based on these words. One needs to pay attention to the context and how the future tense is used. The lone exception is the use of would, as it is used in Conditional II. While Conditional I features the if+ present- then will+ future, Conditional II uses would in the sense of a scenario that can happen if the bridge is crossed. Here are a couple examples to help you:

Conditional I:  If you invite me to sing at your wedding, I will come. 

Conditional II: If you invited me, I would come.

In I, a promise is made, whereas in II, it deals with a situation that either didn’t happen or may not take place.


Now for the activities-

Exercise 1.  Identify the time markers and the future verb tenses in the sentences below. Please note that there may be more than one time marker in each sentence.

  1. Erntedankfest, the German version of Thanksgiving, takes place every year on the first Sunday in October.
  2. Like in Coburg, Furth and Pulheim, Aue will have its own celebration on that day.
  3. There will be many people who are going to the event in three weeks.
  4. Unfortunately for Pastor Tom, he will have settled down in Buxtehude by then.
  5. Many farmers are bringing their harvested goods to the event on this day.
  6. Most of them will display their goods on the church’s alter for the service.
  7. A parade will be taking place after the service.
  8. Where is Pastor Tom going to celebrate Erntedankfest on this day? He will celebrate it with friends in Africa.
  9. It would be a shame to miss it, but if someone told him in advance, he would make it.
  10. But Pastor Tom is definitely celebrating the American version of Erntedankfest in the States this upcoming November.

Exercise 2. Unscramble the words to make a sentence using the correct future tense. Please note that there is a time marker in each of the group of scrambled words. Some words, including prepositions and articles may be needed.

  1. Germany/unlike/American/Thanksgiving/on the fourth Thursday/is held/November/every year.
  2. Gather/home/millions of families/for the weekend/ to eat Turkey and other foods.
  3. Pastor Tom and his family/ New York/ go/ Macy’s Thanksgiving parade
  4. He/ guest pastor/St. Patrick’s Cathedral/at/be/on/Sunday
  5. His wife/Black Friday/look forward/where/in front of/ line up/ department stores/thousands of people/ at 4:00am/ to get the best deal on Christmas gifts
  6. Her children/be/in bed/sleeping/by the time/leave/she/for Macy’s.
  7. There are/open/churches/no/stores/on Thursdays.
  8. Pastor Tom/ why/understand/doesn’t/all places/be closed/day/on/that.
  9. He/Pastor Flamingo Frank/this Sunday morning/about/concept/talk, who has signed the contract/ about/ Bamberg/fly/to/first basketball game/on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving/play.
  10. Many people/Cathedral/flock/to listen/sermon/Thanksgiving/Germany/and/America/about

Exercise 3. What do you think his sermon would look like? How would you view Thanksgiving in both Germany and America from his standpoint? Click on the links and write a sermon about it, with 50% being with future tenses and the rest with any other verb tense to your liking. Keep it simple and within a limit of 5 minutes so that the teacher and the audience can listen to it and help you with the content and grammar.

Exercise 4. In the two pictures as well as the one below, there is a statue of a family having just finished their harvest. It’s a fountain in a small town in Saxony. Can you guess where it is located and what the name of the statue is?




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