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Advanced Level: Future Continuous Tense

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The Future Continuous and 'be going to be +ing' are both used to express the same situations and can both be used interchangeably unlike the Future Simple and 'going to'

Future Continuous – form

will be' + present participle
You will be waiting for them at the hotel.
Will you be waiting for them at the hotel?
You will not be waiting for them at the hotel

am/is/are + going to be + present participle
You are going to be waiting for them at the hotel.
Are you going to be waiting for them at the hotel?
You are not going to be waiting for them at the hotel.

It is important to remember that there is little difference in meaning between the two forms.

1 Interrupted action in the future

The Future Continuous is used to indicate that a longer action in the future will be interrupted by a shorter one. The interruption can also be an interruption in time.

I will be preparing dinner when you get here.
I will be waiting for my results with baited breath.
I am going to be staying at the Hilton if you need to contact me.
He will be working late so we won't see him when we get home.
They will be having dinner at seven. It’s best to call later.
At the same time tomorrow we will be walking through the streets of London.

2 Parallel actions in the future

The Future Continuous is used to express the idea that two actions will be happening at the same time.

I will be studying and Peter will be working at that time.
Peter will be working in the garden Jane will be cooking.
We will all be having dinner and discussing the next holiday.

3 Describing atmosphere

The Future Continuous is used to describe the atmosphere at a specific point in the future.

When I walk into the bar, Chris and Fred will be arguing as usual. Danny will be keeping the whole gang entertained and I’m sure that Sarah and Peter will be flirting in a corner somewhere.

Remember that the Future Continuous cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as when, while, before, as soon as, if, unless etc. Instead the Present Continuous is used:

While I am finishing my work, Tess is going to prepare dinner.
NOT
While I will be finishing my work, Tess is going to prepare dinner.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Now complete the following with the correct form.

  • 1. John told us that he _ when we arrive at the station so we will have to get a taxi.



  • 2. I _ you with the barbeque if you like.



  • 3. David _ at the club tonight. We should go and see him. He’s a great sax player.



  • 4. I _ a little late tomorrow so I’ll probably miss the start of the ceremony.



  • 5. I’d like to know who _ all the mess after the party because it is not going to be me.



  • 6. I _ you if I have any problems.



  • 7. There is a serious problem. I _ at around 4.pm to discuss it.



  • 8. You _ an answer to your proposals by tomorrow.