Chapter 5-8-10: The Future Progressive / Future Continuous Tense

Grammar > Using Verbs > Verb Tenses > Future Continuous

WHEN TO USE IT: The future progressive (also called the future continuous) tense is used to describe actions ongoing in the future. The future progressive is used to:

  • refer to continuing action (an action in progress) that will occur (or that we expect to occur) at a specific time in the future;

  • predict or guess the present as well as future events;

  • project what someone or something will be doing into the future;

  • make polite inquiries about someone's plans—without wishing to influence those plans; and

  • when used with the word "still," the future continuous can be used to refer to events that are happening now and that we expect to continue to be ongoing into some point in the future.

FORM: [will be + present participle] or [am/is/are + going to be + present participle]

Unlike with the future simple, the future continuous can use either of the expressions, immediately above, to discuss situations that are ongoing in the future. In other words, these two forms can generally be used interchangeably without much difficulty. There are nuances of "feeling" that second language learners may not pick up on: the forms related to "am/is/are going" usually suggest some sort of prior planning, whereas the forms related with "will" are more matter-of-fact or "business-like."

Each of the highlighted compound verbs in the following sentences is in the future progressive tense.

The glee club will be performing at the celebration of the town's centenary.

Ian will be working on the computer system for the next two weeks.

The selection committee will be meeting every Wednesday morning.

We will be writing an exam every afternoon next week.

They will be ringing the bells for Hypatia next month.

Don’t send a text message to him right now, he will be sleeping. [predicting the present]

Will you be watching a movie tonight? [polite enquiry]

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