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Home Dialogue Grammar Speaking Tenses English Dialogue: Making Predictions with Future Continuous Tense

May 08, 2019

English Dialogue: Making Predictions with Future Continuous Tense

An English conversation

Jim is sitting in a coffee lounge when Margaret comes in and sees him. Here is their conversation.
Margaret:Oh, hello, Jim! You’ve finished your coffee! Have you been here long?
Jim:I’ve been here since soon after ten o’clock, Margaret. I decided to sit here for a while, because I felt a little tired.
Margaret:Well, you’ve been feeling tired for a long time. It’s nearly eleven o’clock! What have you been doing since you finished your coffee? Weren’t you bored?
Jim:No, Margaret. I wasn’t bored. I’ve been sitting here thinking.
Margaret:Well, well .... And you’d been doing that for more than half an hour when I came in? What were you thinking about?
Jim:Oh, various things. For the last few minutes I’ve been wondering what Carol will be doing at this time next year.
Margaret:She’ll probably be having a meal in some foreign restaurant. Or perhaps she’ll be writing a long email to one of her friends in Australia describing all her adventures.
Jim:Yes, she’ll probably be having all sorts of adventures!
Margaret:My word! I can just imagine her trying to explain something in Paris, waving her arms and speaking in a mixture of Spanish, English, and bad French!
Jim:Yes, she’ll soon regret trying to learn Spanish instead of French ... I suppose you’ll be receiving amusing emails from her all the time she’s away?
Margaret:I suppose I shall ... You know, I’m not so sure what I’ll be doing this time next year. Perhaps, I’ll be repeating the year! If I don’t start studying hard soon, I’ll certainly fail at the end of this year.
Jim:Well, Margaret, I hate sounding like your Aunt Mabel, but – “take my advice and start studying immediately!” Because, unless you do, you probably won’t be working as a journalist in a few years’ time. And you’re very keen on that, aren’t you?”
Margaret:I suppose you’re right, Jim. Yes, I suppose I’ll be studying hard all the rest of this year. I must say I don’t feel like it!
Jim:Ah yes, but just think what you’ll be doing in three or four years’ time! When you’re a journalist, you’ll be traveling everywhere and seeing all sorts of interesting things. You’ll be meeting all sorts of interesting people.
Margaret:You’ve said enough, Jim! From now on I’m going to study harder than anyone else!

The form of Future Continuous Tense (shall/will be verb-ing)

We form this tense using the future simple of to be + the present participle (Verb-ing). In the first person (I/we), will is more usual than shall, except in the interrogative.
Affirmative I/we will/shall be working
he/she/it/you/they mill be working
Negative I/we will/shall not be working
he/she/it/you/they will not be working
I/we won't/shan't be working
he/she/it/you/they won't be working
Interrogative shall/will I/we be working?
will he/she/it/you/they be working?
Negative interrogative: will we not/won't we be working?
will he not/won't he be working?
Examples of Future Continuous tense:
English Dialogue: Making Predictions with Future Continuous Tense
  • At 3 o’clock, Salim will be working in the garden.
  • I’ll be working hard in the office all next week.
  • At this time tomorrow, I’ll be watching a soccer match.
  • Amat will be doing his homework all this evening.
  • You won’t be working all day tomorrow, will you?
  • What will you be doing in three weeks’ time?

The Use of Future Continuous tense

  1. The future continuous tense is often used as an ordinary continuous tense, which indicates or predicts an action that will be happening at a certain time in the future. It is normally used with an adverb of time, and expresses an action or event which starts before that time and probably continues after it. Read the example below.
    "It is 10.00 a.m. now. The students are sitting in their classroom. They are studying. At 11.30, they will be having a break. At 2.00 pm, they will be sitting in their classroom again. Tomorrow is Saturday and there will be no class. This time tomorrow they will not be sitting in the classroom. They will be doing other things. Tito will be playing tennis. Erna will be shopping. Wisnu will be helping his parents in their shop."
  2. The future continuous is used to express predictions and unintentional future/future without intention. It tells us about events at a future time, whether they are intentional or not. Read the example below:
    The students will be sitting in their classroom at this time tomorrow.
    (This does not imply that the students wish or have planned to sit in their classroom. It merely states that the action will happen as a routine or ordinary course of events.)
    The future continuous tense used in this way differs from the present continuous used for future arrangements.
    • The present continuous tense implies a definite and deliberate future action.
      I am meeting a new client tomorrow.
      (The first implies that the new client and/or the speaker has deliberately arranged the meeting.)
    • The future continuous tense usually implies or predicts an action which will occur in the normal course of events. It is therefore more casual than the present continuous.
      I'll be meeting a new client tomorrow.
      (It implies that the new client and the speaker will meet in the ordinary course of events.)
    However, with a definite time and for the near future, the difference is not very important and very often either tense can be used.
    • He'll be leaving tomorrow, or
      He is leaving tomorrow.
    • He won't be coming to the party, or
      He isn't coming to the party.
    With indefinite time or the remote future, the future continuous should be used.
    I'll be moving to another apartment (next month/next year/some time).
  3. In second-person question-forms, the Future Continuous is used to make a polite question. It concerns future activities rather than future intentions. Pay attention to the examples below:
    1. Are you going to call them soon? (Direct question about intentions)
      Will you be calling them soon? (Pure question about future activities, by-passing the intentions themselves)
    2. Will you meet Anton? (Request)
      Will you be meeting Anton? (Pure question about future activities)
A. Change the verbs in brackets into the Future Continuous tense.
  1. When you arrive they (still prepare) the meal.
  2. She (see) him in a few minutes.
  3. The leaves (fall) soon.
  4. She says she (do) the washing tomorrow.
  5. We (have) crab for supper.
  6. You (go) to Surabaya again this week?
  7. We (not have) dinner in thirty minutes.
  8. You (learn) more about this tense after you do the exercise.
  9. Hurry up! The train (leave) in a minute.
  10. You are so absent-minded you (forget) your head next.
B. Change the verbs into the Future Continuous. Notice the change of meaning in some sentences.
  1. I'll write to you later.
  2. He's coming home soon.
  3. He is lecturing on the seventeenth-century poets next.
  4. I shall see her tomorrow afternoon.
  5. Are you going to use this spoon?
  6. Will you come to the party?
  7. When are you going to have the house painted?
  8. Which school are you going to send him to?
  9. You will make all the arrangements.
  10. I will not do any business with them.
  • Thomson & Martinet (1986). A Practical English Grammar (4th Ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Allen W. Stannard (1989). Living English Structure. Hong Kong: Longman.
  • Radio Australia, English for You. Victoria: The Dominion Press.
For other Future forms, also read:


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