Future Simple vs. Present Continuous

There are similarities and differences between future simple and present continuous, which might cause confusion. To learn more, click here!

What is Their Main Difference?

The difference between the two tenses lies within their time factors. Future simple tense refers to actions and events in the future while present continuous refers to current actions and events.

Uses and Comparison

1. Prediction

Have you ever visited an oracle or listened to weather forecasts? When we want to make a prediction or a guess about the future, we use future simple tense.

It will rain tomorrow.

Here, we are predicting that there will be rain.

It is raining tomorrow.

We cannot be a hundred percent sure how the weather will be tomorrow, therefore it is incorrect.

She will make an appearance.

Here, we are guessing that the subject will join or show her face.

She is making an appearance.

Here, we are not guessing, we are indicating that something is happening right now.

2. Future Plans

When we want to talk about actions and events that we have already made up our mind about them, we use present continuous tense. This also includes firm plans.

I am visiting my grandparents this weekend.

Here we are talking about a recent future plan.

I will visit my grandparents this weekend.

Here, we cannot use 'will' to refer to a short term future plan.

They are meeting us at 6 o'clock.

Here, we are talking about an upcoming event.

They will meet us at 6 o'clock.

Here, we cannot use 'will' to refer to a recent and short term event.

3. Spontaneous Actions

We use future simple tense to talk about decisions that are made on the spot and at the moment of speaking for the future.

Wait here, I will fetch my notepad.

Here, we are referring to a decision made on the spot.

Wait here, I am fetching my notepad.

Here we are referring to an action being done at the moment.

He will help you with the boxes.

Here, we are talking about a decision made at the moment of speaking

He is helping you with the boxes.

Here, we are talking about an action happening right now and at the moment of speaking.

4. Frequent Actions

Sometimes, we want to talk about actions that happen continuously and tend to repeat themselves. To do so, we use present continuous tense with 'always,' 'forever,' 'constantly.'

We are always traveling.

Here we are talking about a routine.

We will always travel.

Here, we are making a prediction and not talking about a routine.

They are constantly fighting.

Here we are referring to a repeated action.

They will constantly fight.

Here, we are making a prediction and not talking about a repeated action.

5. Promises

We use the future simple tense to promise to do or not to do something in the future.

I will finish it tomorrow.

Here, we are making a promise to do something.

I am finishing it tomorrow.

Here, we are talking about a plan.

I won't tell anyone.

Here, we are making a promise to not to do something.

I am not telling anyone.

Here, we are talking about right now and at this moment.

6. Actions Happening Now

We tend to use present continuous tense to talk about actions and events that are happening right now and exactly at this moment.

I am teaching English Grammar.

Here, we are talking about actions happening right now.

I will teach English Grammar.

Here, we are talking about future events.

We are having lunch.

Here, we are talking about actions happening right now and at the moment of speaking.

We will have lunch.

Here, we are talking about future events.

Structure

1. Future Simple

In order to create this tense, we tend to add 'will' to the subject at the beginning of the sentence, then the base form of the main verb. Have a look:

She will give me a lift.

I will take her with me.

2. Present Continuous

Present continuous tense includes two parts. Learning these two parts helps you with creating them. Here is the pattern: 'to be' + the present participle of the main verb (verb + -ing). Now look at the table below:

Subject Verb To be Present Participle
I am studying
You/We/They are crying
He/She/It is celebrating

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