While the future continuous tense may not be taught in detail in classes, that does not change the fact that it is used a lot by English speakers. Often, we use this tense for talking about something which is taking place at a certain point in the future. It has two different forms which are ‘will be doing’ and ‘be going to be doing’. Moreover, they are not like simple future forms, so they are generally interchangeable. Thus, this article will help you learn about this in detail so that you will be able to master this tense. After learning about this, you can sound more natural when speaking in English.
Definition of Future Continuous Tense
The future continuous tense refers to a verb tense which denotes that something will happen in the future and continue for an expected period of time. It is also known as the future progressive tense.
The construction for forming this tense is:
will + be + the present participle (the root verb + -ing).
The simple future tense is a verb tense which we use when an action is expected to happen in the future and be completed. For instance, if you are going to the movies at three o’clock.
Example: I will reach at three o’clock.
I will reach is the simple future tense of the verb to reach. When we reach once; beyond that, we can’t keep on reaching. But, once we get there, we may be doing something that goes on continuously, at least for a particular period of time.
Example: At three o’clock, I will be meeting my friends to watch the movie.
Will be meeting is the future continuous tense of the verb to meet. The construction will + be + the present participle meeting which denotes that the meeting is not going to take place in an instant, all at once. In other words, it will have a duration. The will + be + present participle construction always denotes the future continuous tense.
Example: Tony will be running a marathon this Friday.
Example: Ted will be competing against Tony in the race.
Example: I will be watching Tony and Ted race.
- Introduction to Tenses
- Present Tense
- Present Perfect Tense
- Present Continuous Tense
- Present Perfect Continous Tense
- Past Tense
- Past Perfect Tense
- Past Continous Tense
- Past Perfect Continous Tense
- Future Tense
- Future Perfect Tense
- Future Continous Tense
- Future Perfect Continous Tense
- Sequence of Tenses
- Uses of Tenses
Future Continuous Tense & Action Verbs
Before diving in deeper, it is important to note that we use future continuous tense only with action verbs. This is because it is not possible to do them for a duration. Action verbs describe activities like walking, thinking, and smelling. On the other hand, Stative verbs describe states of existence, such as knowing, being, seeming, and more. Thus, using the will + be + present participle construction with a stative verb will sound quite odd.
Incorrect: I will be being stressed tomorrow during my physics practical.
Correct: I will be stressed tomorrow during my physics practical.
Incorrect: When the leaves fall tomorrow, summer will be seeming like a distant memory.
Correct: When the leaves fall tomorrow, summer will seem like a distant memory.
Thus, you see how only simple future tense suits stative verbs such as, to be and to seem.
Uses of Future Continuous Tense
Now that you are clear with what the definition of the future continuous tense is, let us learn about its uses.
Interrupted Action in the Future
We make use of the future continuous to denote that a longer action in the future will be intervened by a shorter action in the future. It is important to note that this can either be a real interruption or just an interruption in time.
- I will be playing games when he arrives today.
- I will be waiting for you when your plane arrives.
- I am going to be staying at the Tulip Hotel if anything happens and you need to call me.
- She will be performing at the music concert tonight, so she will not see Raj when he arrives.
By going through the above examples, you will see that the interruptions (given in italics) are in simple present instead of a simple future. It is because the interruptions are in time clauses and you cannot make use of future tenses in time clauses.
Particular Time as an Interruption in the Future
In the above use, you see that the future continuous is interrupted by a short action in the future. Besides making use of short actions as interruptions, we can also make use of a particular time as an interruption.
- Today at 2 PM, I am going to be eating
- I will be in the process of eating lunch.
- At midnight tonight, they will still be hiking through the woods.
- They will be in the process of hiking through the woods.
Make sure to remember that in the simple future, we use a particular time to show the time an action will start or end. In the future continuous, a specific time will interrupt the action.
- Today at 2 PM, I am going to eat.
- I am going to start eating at 2 PM.
- Today at 2 PM, I am going to be eating lunch.
I am going to start earlier and I will be in the process of eating lunch at 2 PM.
Parallel Actions in the Future
When we make use of the future continuous with two actions in the same sentence, it will express the idea that both actions will be happening at the same time. Thus, these actions will be parallel.
- I am going to be sleeping and she is going to be walking the dog.
- Tonight, they will be having a party, dancing to music, and having a good time.
The atmosphere in the Future
In the English language, we often make use of a series of Parallel Actions for describing the atmosphere at a particular point in the future.
When I arrive at the party, everybody is going to be celebrating. Some will be singing. Others are going to be dancing. A few of them will be eating snacks, and a lot of people are going to be having drinks. They always do the same thing.
FAQ on Future Continuous Tense
Question 1: I’ll be ________ the match at 2 pm.
- to watch
Answer 1: Option b- watching.
Question 2: At midnight tomorrow, she ________ on a resort somewhere.
- will be relaxing
- will being relax
Answer 2: Option a – will be relaxing.