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Today we’ll be looking at a verb tense that students often forget, so it’s a good idea to review it. The verb tense in question is the Future Continuous. As a default, students often use the Present Simple. And when I say “often,” I mean a lot! This is fine, as long as they are speaking about an action they do generally. The most common next step is for students to incorporate the Present Continuous, which we use for an action we are doing now, at the moment. This brings us to the Future Continuous, our often forgotten continuous tense. We use the Future Continuous for an action that will be in progress at a particular time in the future. To form the Future Continuous, we use the following structure: subject + will + be + present participle. For example: At four o’clock tomorrow morning, I will be sleeping, so please don’t call me!
Some of you might be asking: so what’s the difference between the Future Simple and the Future Continuous? The Future Simple (will + infinitive without ‘to’) is an often misunderstood tense. Students generally think it’s the tense that we always use to speak about a future action, but that’s not exactly true. We use the Future Simple in two different situations: when we make a prediction, and when we communicate that we decided to do something just this moment. For example:
- I think that it will probably be cloudy tomorrow morning. (prediction)
- I’m sorry, I forgot to bring you your money! I’ll bring it tomorrow, I promise. (something we just decided to do this moment)
The difference between that tense and the Future Continuous is that we use the Future Continuous for an action that will be happening (in progress) at a particular time in the future. Although not always, it is often used with the word “when.” Let’s see some examples:
- We’ll be having a meeting when you get to the office.
- I’ll be cooking dinner when you arrive.
As we can see, each sentence above communicates that the action will be in progress at that particular time in the future. Now practice what you’ve learned with the exercise!
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- The present Continuous
- Remember vs Remind
- Much, Many, Few, Little
- Tail Questions — Part II
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