I have been trying to write stories about possible but improbable futures sort of like Idiocracy or Conan O'Brian's "in the year two thousand" skit.

Will sounds too much like must, and could makes the story sound dependent on present action. I want a story that describes A future not THE future.

Either way I go I overuse could, may, will or must.

What wording would fit such improbable prophecies - unlikely future claims?

  • 1
    Hi, and welcome to Writers. This is too vague as written. If you'd like us to help you with an existing piece, please read our critique guidelines. meta.writers.stackexchange.com/questions/166/… Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 20:25
  • I think I understand the question: how to word highly uncertain claims about future, e.g. "in fifty years everyone might be using flying cars".
    – SF.
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 21:49
  • Related, possibly a duplicate: How to write a prophecy? mardi, is your question addressed by this? If not, let's edit this to make the differences clear. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 23:58
  • @LaurenIpsum - I agree this is vague (even with the edit, although that certainly helps). It's also close to asking what to write. Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 0:00

1 Answer 1


Personally, if it's to be satirical, I'd forfeit all "may, might, could" etc.

I'd go with Simple Present, then augment every single claim with "or not."

In the year 3000 all religions are recognized as highly infective memetic diseases. Or not.
All "infected/believers" are quarantined in closed "holy cities". Or not.

  • Or you can avoid the "or not" by doing something totally contradicting in satirical way: In year 3000 every country is perfect democracy, where people can choose from one total dictator, who is currently Kim Jong The Fifteenth Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 6:48

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