In future / in the future
'In future' or 'in the future' --what a difference it makes to add the word 'the'! But what exactly is the difference? After all, we don't have this sort of alternative with the expression 'in the past'. There is no context in which we can sat 'in past' (without the definite article).
The difference between 'in future' and 'in the future' is a subtle one. A simple summary is as follows:
In future -- we use this when we are making an explicit contrast with a situation now. It is often used together with the words 'but' or 'however':
You can see from these two examples that 'in future' is also often used in sentences where modal verbs of obligation occur (like 'may', 'should, 'must' or 'will').
In the future -- we use this to refer to an unspecified time ahead:
With these points in mind, let's turn to the question originally asked on the Facebook post for this blog: which of the following sentences would you choose, and why?
Now that we've considered the key differences between the two options, it should be possible to work this out. Notice the use of the modal verb 'must' as a verb of obligation in the sentence. This tells us that up to now, staff have not needed to give 10 days' notice. The statement is changing the status quo, and setting up a specific contrast with what is the case now and a new situation that is about to be implemented. Therefore, 'In future…' is the correct expression to choose.
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About this blog
This blog arises from keeping an eye on English in Hong Kong. I often use signs, notices and advertisements that I see as starting points to write about English issues that commonly challenge Hong Kong writers.