Using the correct tense to talk about future plans in English

Make sure you use the correct tense when you talk about future plans in English. Here are some tips to do this, as well as other phrases to use when you talk about your plans with other people.

(For more information about this, see our page on future forms.)

When it isn’t definite

We use the present continuous tense to talk about things that we are presently considering.

“I’m thinking of going to …”

“We’re planning to go to…”

“He’s hoping to go to…”

“I’m toying with / playing with the idea of…”

When your plans are all arranged

You can use the present perfect tense to announce your plans:

“We’ve decided to go to Greece.”

“We’ve settled on Spain, after all.”

“They’ve opted for a camping holiday in France.”

“We’ve booked a weekend in a boutique hotel in Paris.”

You can also use the going to future to talk about your intentions:

“We’re going to (go to) the Algarve for two weeks in July.”

“She’s going to stay in a B&B in the Lakes with some work mates.”

Note: if “going to” is followed by the verb “go to”, you can omit “go to”.
We’re going to go to Paris = “We’re going to go to Paris.”

You can also use will to talk about definite plans that will happen in the future.

“Next year we will stay at home rather than go on holiday.”

“We’ll spend three weeks travelling around Asia, then come back at the end of September.”

Other useful phrases to talk about your future plans

Here are some alternative expressions you can use in English to talk about your plans.

“I’ve got my heart set on… (a cruise next year / a trip to the Caribbean, etc.)”

“I’ve been dying to go to… (ever since I heard about it from my neighbour.)”

“I’d love to go to Australia, but it’s too far away / too expensive.”

I can’t choose between Morocco or Tunisia.

“I’m torn between Italy and France.”

When your plans aren’t yet certain

“It looks like… (we’re going to Cyprus / we’ll be staying at home, etc).”

“As long as we can get our visa in time, we’ll be going to the USA.”

“We’re not 100% sure, but we might be going to Egypt.”

“It’s a toss-up between Greece and Spain.” (to toss a coin = to flip a coin to decide one choice or another)

“We’re on the waiting list for a villa in Tuscany.”

Asking other people about their plans

“What are your plans for… (summer / Easter, etc)?”

“Have you decided … (where you’re going on holiday)?”

“What are you up to … (in summer / next weekend, etc)?”

Are you going to … (Majorca again for summer)?”

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