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.
Ways to Talk about the Future in the Past
Ways to Talk about the Future in the Past
Good vs well

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