First of all, I just want to say that I feel that this is one of those grammar points that is often neglected in the classroom.
However, if you want to speak good English, you need to know the future continuous tense (or future progressive). This tense appears regularly in English. Therefore, it’s worth investing a wee bit of your time to learning how and when to use it.
Thankfully it’s pretty simple to construct – you don’t have to worry about conjugating it for each person. You are using ‘will be’ or ‘won’t be’ whether it’s first person singular, third person plural or whatever.
Subject + WILL + BE + verb-ING
Positive: I will be having lunch outside. / I‘ll be having lunch outside.
Negative: You will not be having lunch outside. / You won’t be having…
Question: Will you be having lunch outside?
Scroll down to the bottom for a top study tip!
1. We use the future continuous to express an action in progress at a certain time in the future. It is very often used with phrases like ‘this time tomorrow’ or ‘this time next week’
However, the actual time isn’t always expressed but it is implied.
This time tomorrow we’ll be flying to Japan.
I hope your operation goes well. I’ll be thinking of you.
2. Another use of the future continuous is to talk about things we believe could be happening now.
Don’t phone her right now. She’ll be having lunch.
“Where’s Josh?” – “I think I saw him in the conference room. He’ll be getting his presentation ready.”
3. It is also used as a more polite or indirect way to ask about plans.
Will you be joining us for dinner tomorrow?
(At a hotel) How will you be paying, sir?
Let’s practice, shall we?
Add the correct form of the future continuous and scroll down for the answers.
1. Have a great birthday. I’m sorry we can’t be there but we __________ of you. (think)
2. This time tomorrow George __________ his driving test. (take)
3. You can have the computer this afternoon if you like. I __________ it. (not / use)
4. The team’s plane _________ in Barcelona right about now. (land)
5. “What __________ this time next year, Lizzy?” (you / do)
– “I hope I __________ and __________ in Canada.” (live; work)
6. I wouldn’t ring Sean right now. He __________ poker and you know how he hates to be interrupted. (play)
7. Karen has just called me. She __________ us for lunch tomorrow as she has to go to Milan. (not / join)
8. __________ your parents when you’re in Istanbul? (you / visit)
- 1. ‘ll be thinking
- 2. will be taking
- 3. won’t be using
- 4. will be landing
- 5. will you be doing / ‘ll be living and working (there’s no need to repeat “I’ll be”)
- 6. ‘ll be playing
- 7. won’t be joining
- 8. will you be visiting
I don’t recommend trying to memorise ‘formulas’ for tense structures, for instance – Subject + WILL + BE + verb-ING.
Instead I prefer to memorise a useful short simple sentence which uses a structure, like the examples above. Then all you have to do is make little changes, such as the final verb in the case of the future continuous.
In my experience as a language learner, the brain finds it much easier to remember an example sentence than the formula. This works especially well with tricky structures like the conditionals.
- There are heaps more free resources here on my website for learning or teaching English, so please have a look around! My content is mostly aimed at a B1 / B2 level of English.
- And if you would be so kind, tell a friend or colleague who is also learning English to check it out. It would be a huge help in growing this website. I would really appreciate it. My content is mostly aimed at a B1 / B2 level of English.
- More Grammar Exercises