Future Continuous

The future continuous tense is used by native English speakers quite often and this is your chance to learn and understand this tense so you can start using it.

intermediate
"Future Continuous" Tense in English Grammar

What Is Future Continuous Tense?

The future continuous (also called the future progressive) tense is often used in English as a way to talk about an action or event happening at a given point in the future. It indicates that something will occur in the future and continue for an expected length of time.

Future Continuous: Structure

We form the future continuous with the modal verb 'will,' the auxiliary verb 'be' and the present participle of the main verb.

Subject Will be -ing form
I will be studying
He will be working

Future Continuous: Negation

For negative sentences we put 'not' between the modal verb 'will' and the auxiliary verb 'be':

She will be using the car. → She will not be using the car.

We will be having dinner. → We will not be having dinner.

When we use the future continuous tense in speaking, we often contract the subject and will:

I will be studying. → I'll be studying.

In negative sentences, you can contract 'will not' as won't, like this:

I will not be sleeping. → I won't be sleeping.

Future Continuous: Questions

For yes/no question sentences, we exchange the subject and will. Look at these examples with the future continuous tense:

He will be playing football. → Will he be playing football?

For wh- questions, do the exact thing you do for yes/no questions and add the proper wh- question word at the beginning of the sentence and omit the part that is the answer.

He will be cooking dinner this evening. → When will he be cooking dinner?

Tip!

If you want to learn more about spelling rules of adding -ing to the base form of verbs, see here.

Using Future Continuous to Talk about Ongoing Actions in the Future

Future Continuous: Uses

When someone uses the future continuous, they are thinking about:

  • Ongoing Actions at Some Point in the Future

Ongoing Actions at Some Point in the Future

We use the 'future continuous tense' to talk about an unfinished action that will be in progress at a time later than now. When we talk about unfinished actions, it means they have started earlier and continued until a particular point in the future, and they may continue. For example:

At 4 p.m. tomorrow, I will be working.

They won't be watching TV at 9 p.m. tonight.

We use the 'future continuous tense' to talk about an action in progress in the future that is interrupted by a shorter action. By a shorter action, we mean that the action which interrupts the future continuous tense does not last for a long time. Check out these examples:

She will be talking on the stage when you enter.

I'll be waiting for you when you get back.

We use the 'future continuous tense' to project ourselves into the future. In this case, we have already made our minds to do something. For example:

By Christmas Jane and I will be moving in our new home.

This time next month I will be living in Madrid.

We use the 'future continuous tense' with 'still', to talk about events that are already happening now and that we expect to continue until some time into the future. It means that the event started in the past, is still ongoing, and may happen in the future as well. For example:

In one year he'll still be living in a dormitory.

Sadly, prices will still be rising in years to come.

We use the 'future continuous tense' to predict future events. It means we are not totally sure whether it happens or not, but we think it is going to happen. check out the following examples:

I expect that she'll be visiting them in Peru.

You'll be feeling hungry after gardening all day, I guess.

We can use the 'future continuous tense' to talk about continuous events that we expect to happen in the future. This means that we predict that they are about to happen.

I'll be visiting Paul at the party next week.

When James is in Germany, he will be staying at a hotel.

We use the 'future continuous tense' to talk about arrangements, often as a reminder, or warning. For example:

We'll be leaving at 12:00. Don't be late!

We will be studying on Sunday evening.

When Not to Use Future Continuous Tense

We do not normally use the continuous tense with stative verbs (also called non-continuous verbs). Action verbs describe activities like running, thinking, and seeing. Stative verbs describe states of existence, for example be, seem, and know.

When you see him tomorrow, he will seem (NOT will be seeming) like a different person.

You will know when you get the box. (Not "You will be knowing when you get the box.")

Review

Future continuous tense is used to talk about actions that are supposed to be in progress at a particular time in the future.

structure Subject + will + be + -ing form
affirmative He will be playing tomorrow.
contraction He'll be playing tomorrow.
negative He will not be playing tomorrow.
contraction He won't be playing tomorrow.
yes/ no question Will he be playing tomorrow?
-wh question When will he be playing?

Future Continuous Tense Is Mainly Used for

  1. Ongoing actions in the future
  2. Predictions about future
  3. Changes
  4. Fixed arrangements
  5. Polite enquiries

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