Using the Future Continuous Tense

The future continuous tense, sometimes also referred to as the future progressive tense, is a verb tense that indicates that something will occur in the future and continue for an expected length of time. It is formed using the construction will + be + the present participle (the root verb + -ing).

The simple future tense is a verb tense that is used when an action is expected to occur in the future and be completed. For example, let’s suppose you have a meeting tomorrow at five o’clock.

I will arrive at five o’clock.

I will arrive is the simple future tense of the verb to arrive. You arrive once; beyond that, you can’t keep on arriving. However, once you get there, you may be doing something that goes on continuously, at least for a certain period of time.

At five o’clock, I will be meeting with the management about my raise.

Will be meeting is the future continuous tense of the verb to meet. The construction will + be + the present participle meeting indicates that the meeting isn’t going to happen in an instant, all at once. It will have a duration. The will + be + present participle construction always indicates the future continuous tense.

Michael will be running a marathon this Saturday.
Eric will be competing against Michael in the race.
I will be watching Michael and Eric race.

The Future Continuous Tense Is for Action Verbs Only

It is important to note that the future continuous tense is only used with action verbs, because it is possible to do them for a duration. (Action verbs describe activities like running, thinking, and seeing. Stative verbs describe states of existence, like being, seeming, and knowing.) To use the will + be + present participle construction with a stative verb would sound very odd indeed.

I will be being stressed tomorrow during my science test.

I will be stressed tomorrow during my science test.

When the sun comes out tomorrow, winter will be seeming like a distant memory.

When the sun comes out tomorrow, winter will seem like a distant memory.

After I study, I will be knowing all the answers for the test.

After I study, I will know all the answers for the test.

As you can see, only the simple future tense is suited to stative verbs like to be and to seem.

Weekly Grammar Tips
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