Macbeth and the future tenses? (Looking Ahead)


In Looking Ahead Alan covers a range of topics making a connection between Macbeth, the future tenses and procrastination. He also uses a number of interesting words such as “blag”, “accost” and “goody-two-shoes”.

I really like this newsletter issue and look forward to your feedback and questions.

Many thanks,

TOEIC short conversations: A woman is sending a bulk order to India[YSaerTTEW443543]

Thanks a lot for this newsletter issue. It is really full of interesting words and phrases, and I’m very happy that you give me such a great opportunity to enlarge my vocabulary.

Again, many thanks and looking forward to other interesting articles,
Irina :smiley:

‘The English language is going to disappoint you because unlike its geographical language neighbours it has no future’.

I like the sentence, though it seems confusing if you read it only once.

Alan, will you agree with me if I say: to be going to is 99% about to happen, while will is 50%?

e.g.: I am going to read the article vs. I will read the article?


Thanks for your comments

I would certainly never risk accepting percentages on something as variable as that, I’m afraid. The whole point of saying:

was intended to shock but I did explain it in brackets, I believe.



As I outlined in the letter, the mythical story of goody two shoes is based on a girl who was given an additional shoe by a wealthy man who felt sorry for her as she only had one shoe and had to hop everywhere. The description or name is applied to anyone who always does the right thing and is very correct in their behaviour. For example if someone always does what they are supposed to do and never takes any risks is someone labelled a ‘goody two shoes’. If you never cross the road when there is a picture lit up of a pedestrian in red and wait for the green figure to appear even though there are no cars anywhere, you might be called this.

Hope that clarifies.



I take the percentages as an easy way to tell my students when you need to use ‘to be going to’ or ‘will’ in saying something in the Simple Future.

However, do you think when you want to stress something out like:
I am going to read the article after I finished browsing,

would be better than:
I will read the article after I finished browsing

or there is no difference between them?


Putting it simply I would say: I am going to read … after I have finished… suggesting that is my intention

I will read … after I have finished … indicating that is my wish.



I am going to thank you for giving me the best explanation after I have read your reply.


I am amazed and amused as ever with Alan’s brisk issues. Thank you very much indeed! Keep being a goody-two-shoes in English on-line teaching (a bit confused with the right word order, though have a hope that the meaning is quite clear).
Sincerely, Nathalie

Hi, Alan,
Thanks for the lesson! I just love it and could not stop dropping it by before I have finished with all of the replies here. How creative and imaginative the lessons are! I am confused about my daughter’s questions about " it’s going to rain" or" it will rain" and “it’s to rain.” and “it will be raining.” Could you please give me some explaination about the above? Thank you,

Many thanks, Alan. Now I see how to use ‘goody-two-shoes’

Dear Alan,

Thank you very much for sending me the newsletter, for me it was good like a newsletter.



Hello everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that you now can also listen to the audio version of Looking Ahead.


TOEFL listening lectures: A lecture by a professor of Archeology[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hello dears Alan and Torsten!

Thank you Alan for sending me this interesting newsletter, although it was so hard to me to learn it till the end and understand all new words. But I think that works very well in improving English language.

Best regards.

HI alan!!
thx…my english get better now… :smiley: thank you so much…i’m sorry it’s still difficult on writing to tell what i mean…

Dear Tatiana,

Many thanks for your message. I’m very glad you like the English language as much as we do and we look forward to your questions. By the way, what do you think of this discussion?

Best regards,

TOEIC listening, photographs: A sun set on the beach[YSaerTTEW443543]

hi…thanks for the article u send to me.its enlarge my vocabulary.

Hi Nia, please try to improve your writing habits. The word ‘u’ does not exist in English. ‘U’ is a single letter, not a word. Also, I’m sure you learned that in English we start each sentence with a capital letter. Why don’t you do that? There is some more information you should read there: … ing_skills[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, talks: Commercial for home financing[YSaerTTEW443543]

dear Alan,
I always have some mistakes when i use “will” " be going to" and " would" although i usually learn about it. there are a lot of situations for each case: prediction, decision, willingness,habit and preferences. which make me confused. it is quite difficult for me in use it correctly. Could you give me some advices. Thank you for your help!

thank you so much for your newsletter issue. I feel like learning about the future tense. I think, it is more useful for me when i listen what you say than what i read in grammar books. I would really like to learn English. thanks a lot!