Form of the Future Progressive Tense


The Future Progressive is formed with will/shall + be + the -ing form:

I will/shall (I'll) be >
You will (You'll) be >
He will (He'll) be >
She will (She'll) be > expecting you/me.
It will (It'll) be >
We will/shall (We'll) be >
You will (You'll) be >
They will (They'll) be >


Uses of the Future Progressive Tense


1. Actions in progress in the future

The most common use of the progressive form is to describe actions which will be in progress in the immediate or distant future:

  • Hurry up! The guests will be arriving at any minute!

  • A space vehicle will be circling Jupiter in five years' time.

It is often used for visualizing a future activity already planned:

  • By this time tomorrow, I'll be lying on the beach.


2. The 'softening effect' of the Future Progressive

  • Sometimes the Future Progressive is used to describe simple futurity, but with a 'softening effect' that takes away the element of deliberate intention often implied by will:

  • I'll work on this tomorrow. (intention, possibly a promise)

  • I'll be working on this tomorrow. (futurity)

In some contexts, the Future Progressive sounds more polite than will, especially in questions when we do not wish to appear to be pressing for a definite answer:

  • When will you finish these letters? (e.g. boss to assistant)

  • When will you be seeing Mr White? (e.g. assistant to boss)


Sometimes there really is a difference in meaning:

  • Mary won't pay this bill. (she refuses to)

  • Mary won't be paying this bill. (futurity)

  • Will you join us for dinner? (invitation)

  • Will you be joining us for dinner? (futurity)

  • Won't you come with us? (invitation)

  • Won't you be coming with us? (futurity)


3. Arrangements and plans

The Future Progressive can be used like the Present Progressive to refer to planned events, particularly in connection with travel:

  • We'll be spending the winter in Australia. (we are spending)

  • Professor Craig will be giving a lecture on Etruscan pottery tomorrow evening. (= is giving)