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FUTURE IN THE PAST

Future in the past is used when you want to discuss something in the past that you
thought would happen in the future. It doesnt matter whether the thing actually
ended up happening. You use future in the past to discuss a plan or a promise from
the past.
Going To: future plans
Speakers of English use be + going to + infinitive to talk about plans for the future.
-

Im going to visit my uncle in Thailand next Spring


Im going to wash the dishes
Im going to Poland for Christmas

Was going to: the future in the past


Sometimes we make planes for the future, but the plans dont actually happen.
Speakers of English use was/were + going to + infinitive to look back a future plan or
intention at a certain point in the past that mayo r may not have taken place.
-

I was going to visit my uncle in Thailand last Spring, but I couldnt afford a ticket
I was going to wash the disches, but there wasnt enough time
I was going to go to Poland for Christmas, but I stayed in France

Will > Would (Would + infinitive)


The use of would implies a possibility or expectation, but no plans
-

If a play my CDs while Im working, it wont disturb you, will it?


I didnt think my music would disturb her, but it did

Present continuous > Past continuous (was/were + verb ing)


Just as the present continuous tense is used for for arrangements, the past
continuous tense can be used to express what was a future arrangement in the
past. (The event may or may not have taken place)
-

Were meeting Jane outside the town hall at three o clock.


We left school before the clases were over because we were meeting Jane
outside the town hall at three o clock.

Future progressive: will + be + verb ing > would + be + verb ing


-

Dont pone them now, theyll be having supper.


I didnt want to pone them at that time because I thought they would be having
supper.

Future perfect: will have + past participle > would have + past participle:
-

Ill have finished writing up this report by noon, so we will be able to watch the
tennis this afternoon.
I thought I would have finished that report by noon and then we could have
watched the tennis, but it took longer than expected.

was/were to + infinitive (It is used for events wich took place)


-

"When she first auditioned the judges knew she was to become a great singer."
(the event happened).

Was/were to have + past participle (for events which didnt happen)


-

"The board of directors was to have promoted Joan as manager, but they later
discovered she had been passing vital information to the competition." (the
event was arranged but did not happen)

Is to be > was to be; is about to > was about to:


-

The factory is to be closed down and all the work transferred to Germany.
I was on holiday in Greece when I heard that the factory was to be closed down.

Please take your seats, ladies and gentlemen. The performance is about to begin.
We weren't able to finish our drinks. We had to take our seats as the performance
was about to begin

No Future in Time Clauses


Like all future forms, future in the past can not be used in clauses beginning with time
expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc.
Instead of using Future in the Past, you must use Simple Past.
I already told Mark that when he would arrive, we would go out for dinner
I already told Mark that when he arrived, we would go out for dinner