What is the Future progressive tense in english? (I will be playing)

What is the Future progressive/continuous tense in english?

Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

The progressive future (or continuous future) is used to indicate that something will be being done at a specific time in the future. It’s not really a simple time to master at first, but one that English speakers use a lot.

  • I¬†will be waiting¬†for you tonight.¬†
  • He¬†will be watching TV at 8pm.¬†

1/ How to make the Future progressive/continuous

subject + will be + verb-ing

 Affirmative  Negative  Question
I / you /¬†he / she / it /¬†we / they will be playing will not (= won’t) be playing Will I / he / we etc. be playing?

Tomorrow afternoon,

  • (+) he will be playing tennis. (= He’ll be playing.)
  • (-) he will not be playing. (= He won’t be playing.)
  • (?) will he be playing tennis¬†?

2/ Use

We use the progressive future to express:

* An action or event that is happening (or progressing) in the future

  • I¬†will be travelling in Japan¬†for the next two weeks.
  • Tonight at 10 PM, I¬†will be watching TV.
  • Next weekend,¬†what will you be doing?
  • In an hour, I¬†will be eating¬†lunch.
  • This time next week, I¬†will be relaxing at the beach.¬†
  • ACDC¬†will be performing¬†in Germany for the next three weeks.

* An action in progress in the future interrupted by something

In the following examples you will notice that the interruption is now simple! In addition to using short actions as an interruption, you can use a specific time:

  • I¬†will be watching¬†TV when he¬†arrives¬†tonight.
  • Will¬†you¬†be waiting¬†for him when his plane arrives tomorrow?
  • When Tom gets home,¬†they will not be sleeping (= they won’t be sleeping)
  • She’ll be having¬†a bath when I’m back home.¬†
  • I¬†will be waiting¬†for you when your bus¬†arrives. (= I’ll be waiting)
  • I will be staying¬†at the Madison Hotel, if anything¬†happens¬†and you¬†need¬†to contact me.
  • I’ll be watching¬†TV when my mother arrives.¬†

* Parallel actions in the future

We use the progressive future twice to describe two actions that will happen at the same time in the future. The actions will take place in parallel.

  • Later on, I¬†will be watching TV and he¬†will be studying.
  • Tomorrow night, they¬†will be drinking beer, listening to music, and¬†having¬†a good time.
  • Next week he¬†will be flying for India, and I will be flying for Thailand.

* To make assumptions in the present

  • He¬†won’t be coming¬†at the party. He is probably still working at the restaurant.
  • She¬†will be getting¬†home at this time.¬†
  • Sarah¬†will be getting¬†married very soon.
  • Tom will be working now (= I think Tom is working now, but I’m not 100% sure).

* To ask polite questions about the future

It is a very polite way of asking questions, tactfully, perhaps to ask something indirectly:

  • When will you be arriving in Sydney?
  • Will you be taking your car to the party?¬†
  • Will¬†you¬†be using¬†your computer tonight? I have to check something on internet.
  • Will¬†you¬†be going to the bakery? I need to buy some bread.

3/ Notes

ūüĎČ The Future progressive/continuous with “Be Going To be”

We can also use¬† ‘be + going to be + v. ing’¬†instead of ‘will be + v. ing

be + going to be + ing

  • He is going to be working at the pub on saturday night.
  • Is she going to be¬†working at the pub on saturday night?
  • She is not going to be¬†working at the pub on saturday night.

ūüĎČ Future progressive/continuous or futur simple ?

Both sentences are correct but their meaning is different:

  • I¬†will be eating lunch at 11am =>¬† I’ll start before 11:00 and maybe I’ll still be eating at that time.
  • I¬†will eat lunch at 11am ¬†=>¬† I’ll start lunch at 11:00 sharp.

ūüĎČ No Future progressive/continuous with the expressions: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc.

Like all future times, the progressive future cannot be used with time expressions such as when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of using the future progressive, use the continuous present.

  • While Phil will be driving,¬†Tina will be sleeping in the car.¬†WRONG
  • While Phil is driving, Tina will be sleeping in the car. CORRECT

ūüĎČ Non-progressive verbs

Non-progressive verbs cannot be used with the progressive future.

be / want / seem / cost / need / care / contain / exist / belong / own / like / love / hate / fear / envy

  • Kat¬†will be being¬†at my house tonight. WRONG
  • Kat will be¬†at my house tonight.¬†CORRECT
  • It¬†will be costing¬†a lot of money to fix the car.¬†WRONG
  • It will cost a lot of money to fix the car.¬†CORRECT

ūüĎČ Place of adverbs

Beware of the place of adverbs such as always, only, never, never, ever, still, just, etc. in the future progressive tense:

  • He will¬†still¬†be watching TV when she goes to bed.
  • Will you¬†still¬†be watching TV when she goes to bed?

ūüĎČ The progressive future is not as used as the other times of the future and can sometimes be replaced by the simple future, the continuous present or even the simple present.¬†

In the following examples the two sentences express an almost identical situation, it does not matter if you use a different time than the progressive future:

  • I’ll be leaving in a few minutes.
  • =¬†I’m leaving in a few minutes.
  • = I’ll leave in a few minutes.
  • = I’m going to leave in a few minutes.
  • = I leave in a few minutes.
  • Sam will come soon.
  • = Sam will be coming¬†soon.

ūüĎČ Active / passive form

We don’t really use the passive form in the future progressive :

  • At 10pm tonight, Carl¬†will be using his laptop. (Active)
  • At 10pm tonight, the laptop¬†will be being used¬†by Carl. (Passive)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *