- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate Skill Builders
- Category: Upper-Intermediate Skill Builders: Grammar
- Written by Chris Cotter
What is the future progressive tense?
When we talk about an action in the future, particularly an ongoing one, we sometimes use the future progressive tense. This grammar structure may also be referred to as the future continuous tense. Take a look at the following sentences:
I will be studying English in Australia next summer.
Ellie will be training for her new job from next week.
My brother's band is going to be touring around Europe for a few months.
What is the sentence structure?
There are two structures for the future progressive tense, both of which are usually interchangeable.
subject | auxiliary verb (will) | be | main verb + ing | object/complement
subject | be-verb | going to | be | main verb + ing | object/complement
The candidates | will | be | making | many speeches over the next few months.
I | will | be | grading | exams all weekend.
Some investment banks | are | going to | be | having | problems because of bad loans.
Unlike the simple future tense in which be going to + verb implies a plan scheduled in the future, the future progressive tense may use either will～ or be going to～ with no change in meaning.
How is the future progressive tense used?
The future progressive tense is most often used in the following instances:
- An action set in the future and which will occur over a period of time.
- An action already in progress and which will continue for a period of time.
- When predicting an action in the present or at a specific time in the future.
- When predicting the future, especially trends in the future.
Here's an example of each:
With my new job, I will be traveling back and forth across the country.
In this sentence, the action (travel) will take place in the future. In addition, the action will recur again and again. Hence we use the future progressive tense.
Alan will be studying until 5:00 tonight, and then he has to meet with his professor.
Here, we can assume from the sentence that Alan is studying now and he will continue to do so until 5:00.
Why don't you call Mike in an hour? He is going to be having dinner about now.
The speaker is predicting an action that is occurring now.
Within the next thirty years, most Europeans will be telecommuting from home.
The speaker is predicting a future trend about European work habits.
Is there additional information on the future progressive tense?
Yes, namely that the future progressive may use modals of speculation in lieu of will. For example:
Sabrina should be working until 5:00 tonight, so call her later tonight.
Americans might be struggling to make ends meet if the economy gets any worse!