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THE FUTURE CONTINUOUS (or PROGRESSIVE) refers to an unfinished action that will be in progress at a specific time in the future. It is formed using will be + the present participle (V-ing).

"Take your umbrella. It'll be raining when you return."

The time expressions often used with the Future Continuous are: at 4pm tomorrow; this time next week; in a year; by then, by 3050, in a week, later this evening, next month, etc.

"I'll be playing tennis at 10am tomorrow."

The Future Continuous is used for quite a few different purposes. We can use it to:

1. project ourselves into the future. What will you be doing in three years' time?

"By Christmas I will be skiing like a pro."
"In two months, I will be eating a plant-based diet."

It also shows how exciting a future moment will be compared to the present moment.

"This time next week I will be sunbathing in Bali!"

2. refer to future events that we see as new, different or temporary. Will you be starting work earlier with your new job?

"He'll be staying with his parents for a month while his dad's in recovery."

It is often used to make a contrast between a present and a future event.

"Today we're taking the bus but next week we'll be taking the train."

3. refer to continuous events that we expect to happen in the future.

"I'll be seeing Jim at the conference next week."
"I'll be eating with Jane this evening so I'll tell her."

4. describe events, which are going to happen anyway, rather than events which we choose to make happen. This is sometimes called future as a matter of course as it does not suggest the idea of personal intention.

"I won't bother to fix a time to see you. I'll be calling into the office several times next week anyway." (the event is certain and will happen naturally as the result of previous arrangements)

5. refer to actions that will be in progress at a specific time in the future.

"When you come out of school tomorrow, I'll be boarding a plane."
"Try to call before 8 o'clock. After that, I'll be watching the match."

6. indicate that a longer action will be interrupted by a shorter action in the future. This can be a real interruption or just an interruption in time.

"I'll be waiting for you when you get back."
"He'll be studying at the library tonight, so he won't see Ann when she arrives."

When it is used with two or more actions, it expresses the idea that the actions will be happening at the same time.

"Tonight, they'll be having dinner, discussing their plans, and having a good time."

7. make predictions about the future.

"He'll be coming to the meeting, I expect."
"You'll be missing the sunshine once you're back in England."

It can also used for predictions or expected trends in the future.

"By 2030, most people in Africa will be living in urban areas."
"We'll all be having holidays on Mars in 50 years."

8. make predictions about the present.

"Mother will be cooking dinner now." (I guess it might be happening at the moment)
"Don't call them now. They will be having dinner." (an assumption about what is happening right now)

9. refer to future arrangements, often as a reminder or warning.

"We'll be leaving at 10 o'clock. So don't be late!"
"I'll be putting the kids to bed at 7 o’clock so don’t call then."

10. ask politely about someone's plans.

"Will you be needing your laptop at work today?"
"Excuse me. Will you be using this chair?" (if you're not using it, may I take it?)

It is an extra-polite and indirect manner to ask about someone's plans and seek a favor by asking about these plans.

"Will you be making a lot of photocopies?" (if so, may I use the machine before you?)

11. soften a rather personal question, making it sound less blunt.

"So you're going to Greece are you? Will you be taking extra euros in cash with you, just in case?"

When combined with STILL, the Future Continuous refers to events that are already happening now and that we expect to continue some time into the future.

"Won't stock prices still be falling in the morning?"
"Next year will she still be wearing a size six?"

When combined with UNTIL/TILL, the Future Continuous refers to events that will continue over a period of time from now up to a specified point in the future.

"They will be studying till 5 pm."
"I won't be practicing tennis until my knee has completely healed."

Note that:

1. WILL BE V-ing and BE GOING TO BE V-ing" are both used to express the same situations and can be used interchangeably.

"Are you going to be waiting/Will you be waiting for them at the hotel?"

2. there is often little or no difference in meaning between the Future Continuous and the Present Continuous with future meaning.

"She will be leaving/She is leaving home after breakfast."

3. there is often little or no difference in meaning between the Future Continuous and the Simple Future.

"Will you come/Will you be coming to the party?"

4. the Future Continuous is normally used with action verbs. With stative verbs the Simple Future is used instead.

"I'll be stressed tomorrow during my science test." (NOT: I'll be being stressed)

5. with the first person pronouns I and we, SHALL can be used instead of will in BrE.

"I shall be eating dinner at 6 pm."

6. passive forms of the Future Continuous are possible but not common.

"At 8:00 PM tonight, the dishes will be being washed by John." (sounds quite odd)

7. the use of the Future Continuous is not very common. "This time next month, I'll be sitting on the beach," is, sadly, a once a year statement for most of us. That said, when you need the Future Continuous, well, you need it.

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