Read below about using conjunctions of time (e.g. when) to talk about the future. Then, when you are ready, look at these exercises to practise using future time clauses.

The future with whenafter, before, until ...

I think I'll get a dog when I'm older (future time clause with when).When you want to say the time something will happen, you can use time conjunctions (e.g. when, before, after ...). With many of these time conjunctions, we can't use will or be going to to talk about the future. Instead, we use a present verb:

I think I'll get a dog when I'm older.

Will you read me a story until I fall asleep?

She's going to be a doctor when she finishes university.

Use a normal future form (e.g. will do, is going to do, want to do...) to give your main point, and then say when it happens with a conjunction and the present simple.


How to use future time clauses

Give the main event with a future verb form and say when with time conjunction + present simple.

I'll wash up after we finish eating.

I'll have a shower before I go to bed.

You can put the main future clause at the beginning or end of the sentence:

When I get home I'll cook dinner.

I'll cook dinner when I get home

Use the present simple to talk about the future after these time conjunctions: when, after, before, until, as soon as, once

I'll cook dinner once I get home.

(once = when I get home)

I'll cook dinner as soon as I get home.

(as soon as  = immediately when I get home)

I'll read a book until I feel tired.

(until = continue reading, then stop when I feel tired)

 When you are ready, try these exercises to practise using future time clauses.

 Advanced Points

The structures above are very similar to the first conditional. We also use them with conjunctions like if, unless, provided (that), as long as and in case. With all of these conjunctions, you can also use the present continuous (for actions in progress at a future time) or the present perfect (to emphasize an action has finished). 

I'll wash up after we've eaten.

(emphasizes that dinner is finished)

I won't phone you when I'm working.

(but I might phone you before or after)