Ten different meanings of 'will' in English

English learners often think that 'will' just refers to the future, but that isn't so. There are many different meanings of will in English...


In the next videos we're going to look at modal verbs and we're going to start by looking at a very common modal verb but very often misunderstood. We're going to start by looking at the modal verb 'will'. Now a lot of people think in English 'will' just refers to the future, but this isn't true - 'will' has many meanings in many different contexts. It's a very useful word and a very flexible word, so in this video lesson I'm going to show you some example sentences to show you how we can use 'will' and all the different meanings that 'will' can express. Then at the end we'll do some practice.

So 'will' is what we call a modal verb. A modal verb is used to change the meaning of the main verb. So if we look at a simple example 'I will go' - 'will', the modal verb, changes, or helps to change, the meaning of the main verb 'go'. But depending on the context, 'will' can express different meanings. In this video, I'm going to show you ten different meanings for 'will'.

Here's the first example: "We will see you tomorrow!" In this case, 'will' is being used to express a future plan or arrangement. "I will wake up late on Sundays" Now in this example, 'will' is referring to a habit or a repeated action. This is something I do every Sunday. "He won't eat his vegetables" Now in this case 'will' is referring to willingness or volition. This is something that you want to do or you don't want to do. "Will you open the door?" Now in this case 'will' is being used as a request for help. "The phone's ringing. That will be for me!" In this case, 'will' is used to express probability, very high probability. I'm sure that the person ringing on the phone wants to speak to me. "Will you just shut up and listen for one minute!" In this case, 'will' is being used to give an order. "Boys will be boys!" This is a common expression in English which means that boys always behave like boys. In this case, 'will' is expressing something which is always true. "I will help you with your homework" In this case, 'will' is being used to make an offer, to offer your help to someone. "I think it will rain tomorrow" In this case, 'will' is being used to make a prediction, to guess about something in the future. "If it is sunny tomorrow, I will go to the park" In this case, 'will' is part of a first conditional. So if one thing happens, then something else will happen. It's a condition.

OK, so to practise these examples of 'will' I'm going to give you a few example sentences. We won't do all of them. We'll just do a few examples. I'll give you some example sentences and I want you to try to guess how is 'will' used in each example sentence?

So the next time you hear 'will' or you read 'will' don't just assume that it's referring to the future because as you can see in these examples 'will' is very flexible and it's used in many different ways. It's the context that's important, so if you're not sure make sure you understand the context first. If you're not sure then go back and watch the video again. I think that would be a very good way to help you understand much better.

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