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Conditionals - Future in the Past | English Grammar Book

Future in the past uses two Verb forms: "would" and "was/were going to". The future in the past expresses a past idea of something you thought would happen in the future. You can use both Verb Forms to make statements of what you thought would or was/were going to happen in the future. Both forms are used to make predictions about the future. However, the event or action may or may not actually happen. The two verb forms will give the sentence different meanings.

Future in the Past - Using "Would"

"Would" is used to indicate talking in the past about what someone promised or offered to do.

Simple past clauseWould + verb

  • I knew Sean would buy everyone dinner.
  • Peter said he would be late.
  • Paul said he would sign the contract and he did.
  • She promised she would call last night.

Future in the Past - Using "was/were going to"

"Was/were going to" is used to indicate talking in the past about what someone planned to do.

Simple past clauseWas/were going to + verb

  • Sean said he was going to buy us dinner.
  • I told you Peter was going to be late.
  • Paul said he was going to sign the contract, but he changed his mind.
  • She promised she was going to call last night and she did.


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Conditionals - Future in the Past | English Grammar Book

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