Ways to Talk about the Future in the Past
Hi English learners! Welcome to a new lesson. We will learn about the ways to talk about future in the past.
We can use the following structures to do that:
- was/were going to
- was/were supposed to
- was/were due to
Was/were going to
We use the structure was/were going to to talk about something we planned or intended to do but we didn’t. We usually say the reason for not doing it.
- I was going to meet Sara for a cup of coffee but I didn’t; I got a temperature.
- I thought you were going to pick me up from work. Why did you lie to me?
- Michael was going to call Martin but he didn’t have time.
- We were going to visit our grandparents on Sunday but it was raining so we didn’t.
- They were going to buy that car but they changed their mind at the last moment.
Was/were supposed to
If you are supposed to do something, it is what you are expected to do. The structure was/were supposed to is used to tell that someone had an obligation or was expected to do something but they didn’t.
- The plane was supposed to arrive an hour ago but the weather is bad so it is delayed.
- They were supposed to take the children to the zoo but it was raining all day.
- No one in the company was supposed to know that but now everyone is talking about it.
- You were supposed to go to the party with me. Why didn’t you come?
- I was supposed to go on a date with Celia but she stood me up.
Was/were due to
We use the structure was/were due to to say that something was expected to happen at a particular time. It usually goes with a time expression.
- Sam was due to start working on Tuesday but he came on Monday.
- The old building was due to be demolished last week but it was cancelled at the last moment.
- The party was due to start at 7 but everyone was late so it started at 8.
- The TV crew were due to shoot the commercial in the city centre that morning.
- Lucy broke off the engagement three days before they were due to be married.
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