Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Future in the past

from English Grammar Today

When we talk about the past, we sometimes want to refer to something which was in the future at the time we were speaking. We use past verb forms to do this:

The last time I met her, she was leaving for a new job in Italy the following day. (past form of She is leaving)

They rang to say they would be with us by ten o’clock but then their flight was cancelled. (past form of They will be with us)

[a novelist writes about a house where he wrote his novel]

I saw the house that I was to live in for the next six months. (past form of I am to live in this house)

He said he was going to see the match but it was cancelled. (past form of He is going to see the match)

(“Future in the past” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

give the green light to sth

to give permission for someone to do something or for something to happen

Word of the Day

Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

by Liz Walter,
October 22, 2014
We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely: He was very pleased. The ship is extremely large. However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic,

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More