Using the future continuous tense

The future continuous tense is mainly used to say that something will be in progress at a particular moment in the future.

Form: will be + -ing form of the verb

  • Good luck. We’ll be praying for you.
  • This time tomorrow I will be performing in front of 15,000 people.

Predicting the present

We use the future continuous tense to say that something is probably happening at the moment of speaking.

  • ‘Why hasn’t she arrived yet?’ ‘She will be working late.’
  • ‘Hurry up! They will be waiting for you.’
  • Don’t call her now. She will be having a nap.
  • ‘Susie doesn’t pick the phone up.’ ‘She will be having a shower. Try again sometime later.’

The future continuous tense is also used to make polite enquiries about people’s plans.

  • Will you be staying overnight?
  • Will she be coming with you?

Note that the same idea can be expressed using the simple future and present continuous tenses, but these forms are not considered very polite.

  • Are you staying overnight? / Are you going to stay overnight? (These are direct questions.)
  • Will you stay overnight? (This is an order or an instruction.)

Future in the past

Sometimes while talking about the past, we want to talk about something that had not yet happened at that time. To express this idea, we usually use past verbs.

  • Last time I saw her, she was busy making arrangements for her daughter’s wedding.
  • In 1976 he arrived in Jamaica where he would spend the rest of his life.
  • I went to have a look at the apartment which I was going to rent.