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Introduction to Dialogue 16

In this dialogue we revise several different tenses used to talk about future activities.

Here are some examples of the different tense structures

I will go into town this afternoon (100% certain) - future tense of 'to go'.

I am going to drive into town this afternoon (100% certain) - use of present continuous of the verb 'to go' plus the infinitive form of the following verb 'to drive'.

I may go into town this afternoon (about 60% certain to go).

I might go into town this afternoon (about 40% - 50% certain to go).

I can go into town this afternoon (I am able to go this afternoon).

I could go into town this afternoon (it is possible but not certain that I will go - conditional use of the verb 'can' or 'to

be able to')

Listen to the dialogue as we discuss a proposed shopping trip to town in the afternoon.

Dialogue 16

C. Morning! How are you today?

G. Fine thanks! What are we going to do this morning. It's a nice day.

C. Well....It's nearly Christmas and we need to get on with our Christmas shopping. Let's go into town. We could buy some presents for the family.

G. Where are we going to go? It'll be very busy in the town centre and we may have difficulty parking.

C. Well it will be very busy but we could get ready soon, if you hurry up and go into town early. There might be more chances of finding a space to park and the shops will be less busy. Are you going to come?

G. Yes. I'll come although I don't really like shopping. Shall we have lunch in town?  It might be easier to eat there. We won't be so rushed.

C. Maybe!  Let's do a list of presents! It may be easier and quicker to shop if we have an idea about what we are going to buy for the family.

G. Did you like the vacuum cleaner I bought for you last year?

C. Yes.......I did!...... You might find something less useful this year.  More romantic.......Shall we do the list?

G. Which shops are we going to?

C. I think  we might start in Debenhams. It's a large department store and we may be able to get most things there.

G. Their pre-Christmas sale may have started. We might be able to get some bargains!

C. We might. I know that their sale started yesterday and I think it may continue all weekend. I hope so. We'll have to get in early though, so let's get on with that list!

G. What are we going to get for  little Elsie and  Albert?

Review of Dialogue 16

In this discussion there were a lot of varying degrees of uncertainty about the future shopping trip.

'We may have difficulty parking'

'We could get ready soon if you hurry up'

'There might be more chances of finding a space'

'Elsie may like a doll'

'Albert might like another toy.'

'It may be easier to get it on line'

'We could get that'


Remember that the modal verbs - may , might, can, could, are all used with the infinitive form of the following verb without the 'to'. The degree of certainty about an event is often shown by the certainty in the tone of voice used rather than the grammar rules.