9 Future Simple and Future Continuous

Future Simple and Future Continuous

Annapurna Madhuri

Introduction:

The future continuous or the future progressive tense represents an action taking place at some time in future and is used to discuss an event that will happen in the future for a specific amount of time.  It is also used to tell about a planned future event.

However, future continuous tense is less common in use.  Most times simple future and future continuous forms are used interchangably.

The verb in the future continuous tense is made of two parts:

  1. The future tense form of verb ‘to be’ – will be
  2. ‘ing’ affixed to the base verb.

Sentences in the future continuous form have a specified structure:

The affirmative sentence structure

Subject + future tense form of verb ‘to be’ + base verb+ing

Example: She (subject)+ will (future tense form of ‘to be’)+ go (base-verb)+ing  
She will be going to school, by this time next week.

Negative sentence structure:

Subject+ future tense form of verb ‘to be’ + not + base verb + ‘ing’

Example: She will not be going to school by this time next week.

Interrogative structure:

Future tense form of verb ‘to be’ + subject + base verb + ing + Question tag

Example: Will she be going to school by this time next week?

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, all learners will be able to:

  1. Use the ‘ing’ form of verbs to describe actions as they would be happening at some time in the future.
  2. Use future continuous forms appropriately.
  3. Apply rules to make a sentence in future continuous tense.
  4. Use future continuous tense in interrogative and negative sentences.
  5. Differentiate between the simple future and future continuous form of verbs.

Previous knowledge

Choose the correct form of verb in the following sentences:

Quick Read

Read the conversation  given below:

Naj: Last few days had been quite hectic.  I am looking forward for the workshop, for which we had been working very hard since last four to five months.

Madhu: Yes, next week by this time, we will be boarding the flight.  We will be reaching the venue by late night, the same day.

Asha: While you will be presenting your work at the conference, I will still be struggling with my project, due for completion in the next month.

Naj: Yes, we wish you all the best, Asha.

Asha: Thank you Naj.  Where is Gomati going to meet you?

Jaya: She will be waiting for us at the airport, when we reach.

Naj: Yes. By the time we reach the airport, I am sure Gomati will be sipping a hot cup of coffee at the cafeteria.

 Asha: I know, you all have prepared well.  I am sure you all will be giving a rocking presentation at the workshop.  All the best!

Naj, Madhu and Jaya: Thank you Asha.

Here we see things which will be in progress or happening at some time in the future.  This is the future continuous tense.  There is no information about the completion of the task.  It will start sometime in the future and goes on. 

Future continuous tense is used to:
  1. Project ourselves in some future time
    • Example – Yes, next week by this time, we will be boarding the flight.
  2. Predict future events
    • Example – We will be reaching the venue by late night, the same day.
  3. talk about simultaneous events expected to happen in future
    • Example – While you will be presenting your work at the conference, I will be struggling with my project, due for completion in the next month.
  4. talk about events already happened and expecting that they continue to happen in future also. 
    • Example –  I will still be struggling with my project, due for completion in the next month.
Affirmative sentences in future tense:
Practice time: Make as many sentences as you can using words from each column:

Example – At 10:00 am tomorrow, you will be studying English.

Clause  Subject Helping verb Present participle form of main verb
At 10:00 am tomorrow I

you

we

he

she

they

will be sleeping

working

studying English

cooking lunch

eating breakfast

traveling

attending the class

Negative sentences in the future tense:
Practice time: Make as many sentences as you can using words from each column:
Clause  Subject Helping verb Negative form Present participle form of main verb
When Abhishek comes home I

we

you

he

she

it

will/shall not be working

reading

cooking

studying

playing

watching TV

Interrogative sentences in the future tense: Remember to add a question mark.
Practice time: Make as many sentences as you can using words from each column:
Clause Helping verb subject Present participle form of main verb
When he calls will I

we

you

he

she

they

be cooking

dancing

playing

sleeping

talking to a friend

watching the match

walking in the garden

drinking coffee

Exercise: Use the future continuous form of the verb given in the bracket to complete the given sentences:

Focus:

We now know that future continuous tense is used to describe actions in the situations discussed in the picture below.

  • To project ourselves in the future:
    • this evening, later next week, next month, after, before….
  • Predicting or guessing future events
    • guess, believe, think….
  • Events already happened and will continue to happen in the future also
    • still, until, till…
  • Longer actions interrupted by shorter actions both taking place in future.
    • when, while, then…
  • Longer actions interrupted by a time frame.
    • until, till…
  • Describing two parallel actions happening simultaneously.
    • when, then…
      • Exception: To describe two simultaneous actions in a time in future, simple future is commonly used.  Future continuous is used only when the longer continuous action is to be emphasized.

Write the appropriate form of verb tense in the blanks and complete the given sentences. Note the signal words. 

Interrogative and Negative sentences in future continuous tense. 

Change into negative:

Change into interrogative:

Simple Future Vs. Future continuous:

Differences between Simple Present Tense and Present Continuous Tense
Basis of differences Simple Future Tense Future Continuous Tense
Basic Future expressed as a fact, plan or a decision, opinion, office programs, timetables, personal programmes Long continuous actions in future depicting time of happening in future, atmosphere in future, projecting self in future, guessing events,
Repeated actions Prediction of future, time unspecified. Prediction – time specified.
Form and structure Simple present form of verb along with future tense form of helping verb Present participle form of main verb along with future tense form of helping verb
Similarities:

Both simple future and future continuous tenses are used to

  1.  Predict future events or plan
  2. Talk about the future.

Additional Exercises – Self check

Convert the following sentences into future continuous tense

Mark the correct form of verbs in the following sentences.

Correct the errors in each of the following sentences:

License

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://dx.doi.org/Effective English for Teachers

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