Difference Between ‘In Future’ and ‘In the Future’
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By Priyadarshini Mahendran
Both these phrases have been used interchangeably and contrary to what you might think, there is a subtle difference between the two. According to American English, there isn’t really a difference. But in British English, interchanging the two phrases completely changes the meaning of the sentence.
‘In future’ means ‘from now and forever’. It is used when you intend to change, either a habit, behaviour or practice starting immediately and to show consistent change. It is also used to voice disapproval of a person’s behaviour.
- In future, we will ensure that our team responds within 2 hours. (promising to show consistent change with regard to customer service, starting immediately)
- I will not tolerate such behaviour from you in future. (voicing disapproval)
- I assure you, that in future, I will never be late to office. (habit)
‘In the future’ means ‘plans made for something at some point in the future. It is used when one talks about long term plans at a non-specified time in the future; not something that happens immediately.
- In the future, we have major expansion plans in the Middle East as the market potential is huge there.
- I plan to work, in Amsterdam, in the future.
- In the future, we plan to build more manufacturing plants in the Southern region.
The following are examples of incorrect usage:
- In future, we have plans to expand in the Middle East countries. – This is incorrect because they have plans to expand but not immediately. It is to happen at an unspecified point of time in the future.
- In the future, please report to me before you leave office. – This is incorrect, as it is a reprimand that is meant to enforce immediate action; wherein the person is supposed to report every day, starting from that day onwards and using ‘in the future’ means something that is planned for a later date.
Now that you have understood the difference between the two, in future always use the right phrase in the right context.
Priyadarshini is a CELTA Cambridge graduate and a passionate English language trainer. She enjoys reading, writing and listening to music.