Wait, hope, expect and look forward to – they’re very common and useful verbs that you’ll need to talk about the future in English. The thing is, we don’t always use a future tense. In fact technically speaking, English doesn’t have a future tense. You’ll find that very often we use a particular verb to talk about the future in English instead.
Here are some more videos about words and expressions we use to talk about the future:
About to and Bound to

Video transcript

I’ve got a new trick to show you.
Oh good.
Now you sit over here and I’ll sit over here.
And then I’ll wave my magic wand.
Nothing’s happened. Oh hang on. We’ve changed places.
Well, I didn’t expect that.

Here are four very common and very useful verbs and they have similar meanings so they can be confusing. Let’s look at what you need to know to get them right. We’ll start with ‘wait’.

Mmmm. This is good.
Wait! It’s not ready yet.

Waiting is doing nothing until something else happens.

Carter’s waiting for Ksenia to come. She’s going to take him for a walk.

Wait for me. I’ll be about ten minutes.
All right Mr Hunter.

So waiting is just staying in a place and passing the time. Travellers wait for busses. Pedestrians wait to cross the street. And surfers wait until a big wave comes along. Notice what follows the word ‘wait’. We can wait for something. We can wait to do something. We can wait until something happens. And we can just wait. But notice that we can’t wait something. ‘Wait’ isn’t folowed directly by a noun.
Now here’s a nice expression to learn. When we say we can’t wait for something, it means we want it to happen very soon.

Milk and cookies. Santa Claus is coming tonight. I can’t wait.

So if you want something to happen soon, say you can’t wait.

I’m so tired, I can’t wait for the weekend.

Now let’s compare ‘wait’ with another verb.

I’m waiting for Jay to come home. I expect he’s looking for a parking space.

Waiting is passing the time, but when we expect something, we think it’s probable.

Ah Jay, this weather’s lovely.
Yes, but we’re expecting hurricane force winds tonight.
Oh, we’d better take the deck furniture in.
OK, give me a hand.

If we don’t think something is probable, then we don’t expect it.

For you.
Oh, I didn’t expect that. Thank you.

Come in. Oh, it’s you.
Well, who did you expect? Frank Sinatra?

So if something’s a surprise, say you didn’t expect it.

Nothing’s happened. Oh, hang on. We’ve changed places.
Well, I didn’t expect that.

Well, well. This is a pleasure. I didn’t expect to see you Charlie.
But Chris, you asked me.
My wife. Well it’s good to see you anyway.

Now here’s another expression. If a woman is going to have a baby, we can say she’s expecting.

Mmm. Come in. Oh hi Rachel, sit down.
Hi Rachel.
How are you?
I’m fine thanks.
You look terrific.
Thank you.
You’ve put on a lot of weight Rachel.
Well, yes Jay. I’m pregnant.
You’re expecting?
Congratulations! So you’re not fat.

Now something to note. When we expect something we generally have a good reason to believe it’s going to happen.

So we’re waiting for Jason.
Where is he?
He left at ten so I’m expecting him any minute.

If Jason left at ten, we can expect him soon. If there are dark clouds, we can expect rain. So we expect things when there’s evidence that they’ll happen. Now notice that expecting isn’t about what we want to happen. We have other verbs for that.

I got Vicki a necklace for Christmas. I hope she likes it.

I hope you like the dinner.
Sure. It’s fine.

When we hope something, we don’t know if it will happen or not. Perhaps he’ll like the dinner, or perhaps not.

I’m expecting a baby. I hope it’s a boy.

So ‘expect’ is rational and logical and ‘hope’ is more emotional. It’s about what we want to happen.

We didn’t win the lottery.
Did you expect to win?
No, but I hoped we would.

OK. So we’ve looked at the verbs ‘wait’, ‘expect’, and ‘hope’, and there’s one more.

So when are you going to California, Jason?
Erm, the twenty second. I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends.

When something good is going to happen and we think about it with pleasure, we look forward to it.

I am going to take Carter for a walk.
Oh, look at his tail wagging. He’s really looking forward to it.

When we’re looking forward to something, we’re happy and excited about it.

Good morning. I’m Joan Spencer.
Oh yes, Miss Spencer. We’re expecting you. Won’t you have a seat?
Thank you.
How do you do Miss Spencer. Ready to go to work?
I’m looking forward to it, Mr Arnold.

You’ll often hear this verb in business contexts, and you’ll often see it at the end of business emails, when we’re referring to future contact and what’s going to happen.
Look forward to’ is always followed by a noun. We look forward to things like parties, birthdays and holidays or vacations. So what happens if you want to use a verb after ‘look forward to’?

I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends.

You have to add -ing. That way to make a gerund. A noun form of the verb.

Jay, your mum called earlier.
Oh yeah? Yeah, she’s looking forward to seeing us on Sunday.
Sunday? Oh!

And that’s it for these verbs. We hope you’ve enjoyed this video and we look forward to seeing you again soon. Bye!

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.
Here are some more videos about words and expressions we use to talk about the future:
About to and Bound to



3 thoughts on “Wait, Hope, Expect, Look Forward to – Future Verbs”

  1. Thanks for your interesting video!
    I think there are some exceptions for (wait something), for example, we can say “wait your turn”

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