Looking Ahead

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A Project On Future Infinitives

In this project, students can practice VERB PATTERNS (aka Verb Complementation) by expressing their future plans and expectations in different ways. While there’s not a whole lot to write, there is a lot to think about, so you may want to give your students a couple days or even a week to finish it instead of having them write the whole thing in a single lesson.

Below are a number of prompts and a selection of words to use. For each group, students should write 1 thing for the next week or month, 1 thing for a year from now, and 1 thing for any time in the next couple decades (choose a different word from the selection for each). Each entry should not only state the future idea using [verb] ‘to’ [verb] (as in I want to move to France. Or My father convinced me to study engineering.), but should also contain one or two other bits of information, such as details or a reason (which can be expressed in a separate sentence or through a phrase or clause in the same sentence).

Before you try this with your class, you may want to check out this video on how to teach when to use to ____’ verb patterns as opposed to ‘____ing’ verb patterns.

What HOPES do you have for yourself?

  • desire

  • long

  • need

  • would like

  • would prefer

  • want

  • wish

  • yearn

  • would love

What INTENTIONS do you have?

  • aim

  • aspire

  • be going

  • be about

  • have chosen

  • have decided

  • intend

  • plan

  • be preparing

  • be ready

  • will start

  • will try

How have others INFLUENCED you?*

  • allowed

  • convinced

  • dared

  • enabled

  • encouraged

  • forced

  • helped

  • inspired

  • invited

  • persuaded

What do you EXPECT of others?*

  • encourage

  • expect

  • long

  • need

  • will remind

  • want

  • would hate for

  • would prefer for

What OPPORTUNITIES do you look forward to?

  • be able

  • can afford

  • deserve

  • get

  • get a chance

  • manage


* When the subjects of the two verbs do not match, add the doer of the second verb before ‘to’ (for example, “I expect my little brother to stop being so annoying!”). Alternately, you can place the first verb in the passive voice (for example, “I’ve been inspired to take up juggling.”).

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For more on Verb Patterns, check out our Verbals Series. We understand how looking at a long list of words to determine which should be ‘to ____’ and which should be ‘____ing’ is tricky, so we’ve put them into categories; this way, there’s less to remember. Check out this method in our short video. You can even go beyond the video with printouts, slideshows, and grammar guides, all designed to help teachers better reach their students!