Future Continuous Tense

Future Continuous Tense – Definition and Concept

We have already defined the tense of the verb as the time of occurrence or execution of the verb with respect to the time of making the statement. One of the three tenses of the verb is the future tense, which is further classified into four types.

The Future Continuous tense is that tense of the verb which is used when the verb is occurring or is in progress after the time in which the statement is being made. A few examples below:

  • The union will be meeting
  • She will be performing to her potential.
  • I will be expecting a full house at the multiplex.

Future Continuous tense is used to signify activities that will be occurring later or will be in progress at a later time. Thus, verbs expressed in the Future Continuous tense are very frequently modified by adverbs of frequency or time.

At the end of this article, the reader should be able to:

  • Understand the basic idea of Future Continuous Tense
  • Understand Subject-Verb agreement for the Future Continuous Tense
  • Understand the influence of auxiliaries and modals on Subject-Verb agreement
  • Study Future Continuous Tense in the Passive Voice
  • Learn the Negative forms of sentences in the Future Continuous Tense
  • Study the Interrogative forms of sentences in the Future Continuous Tense

Future Continuous Tense

As we’ve discussed above, Future Continuous Tense is used to describe activities that are in progress after the time of statement. Let us take a few more examples to understand the idea:

  • The board will be thinking that you’re delusional.
  • I will be reaching the dormitory now.
  • The guests will be arriving at the apartment.
  • Will you be coming here today?

In each of the examples, we note how the verb shows the state of action or being of the noun or pronoun as being in progress after the time of the statement. Thus all of the verbs in these examples are in the Future Continuous Tense.

Subject Verb Agreement (Noun-Verb agreement)

In the Future Continuous Tense, Subject-Verb agreement is where we learn the general form of the verb for different nouns and pronouns. Since we have three persons (first, second and third) and two numbers (singular and plural) we study the different forms of the verb for all the six combinations:

First Person

  • I will be coming to your place. (First person singular)
  • I will be taking the readings now. (First person singular)
  • We will be presenting our arguments. (First person plural)
  • We will be anticipating a big contest here. (First person plural)

In each of the examples above, we see that the Future Continuous tense of verbs usually take the present participle form of the verb, with the same form for both singular and plural first person pronouns. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

First Person Singular form:

Pronoun + modal + root form (be) + Present Participle form of Verb

First Person Plural form:

Pronoun + modal + root form (be) + Present Participle form of Verb

Second Person

  • You will be resembling a pessimist.
  • You will be taking the lead.
  • Will you be completing the targets today?

In each of the examples above, we see that the Future Continuous tense of verbs usually take the present participle form of the verb, with the same form for both singular and plural second person pronouns. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

Second Person Singular form:

Pronoun + modal + root form (be) + Present Participle form of Verb

Second Person Plural form:

Pronoun + modal + root form (be) + Present Participle form of Verb

Third Person

Nouns are generally in the third person, while pronouns can be of all persons. So nouns take the same form of the verb as third person pronouns. Examples include:

  • He will be emerging as a spin bowler for the national side. (Third person singular pronoun)
  • It will be growing all over the place. (Third person singular pronoun)
  • They will be bringing the party home tonight. (Third person plural pronoun)
  • The Dalai Lama currently will be residing in India. (Singular noun)
  • These machines presently will be processing 35 bottles per minute. (Plural noun)

In each of the examples above, we see that the Future Continuous tense of verbs usually take the present participle form of the verb, with the same form for both singular and plural third person pronouns and nouns. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

Third Person Singular form:

Noun/Pronoun + modal + root form (be) + Present Participle form of Verb

Third Person Plural form:

Noun/Pronoun + modal + root form (be) + Present Participle form of Verb

Auxiliaries and Modals in Future Continuous Tense

Auxiliaries and modals have the same function in a sentence: assist the verb. While auxiliaries change with the tense of the verb, modals do not.

Auxiliaries

The root form of the auxiliary be is used with the Present participle verb across all forms of nouns and pronouns. We have already understood these forms in the previous section. Let us study these forms in particular now.

  • I will be taking the readings now. (First person singular taking root form be)
  • We will be anticipating a big contest. (First person plural taking root form be)
  • You will be resembling a pessimist. (Second person taking root form be)
  • It will be growing all over the place. (Third person singular taking root form be)
  • They will be bringing the party home tonight. (Third person plural taking root form be)
  • The manager will be leaving the company. (Singular noun taking root form be)
  • The board members will be proposing a merger. (Plural noun taking root form be)

Modals [1]

Upon using a modal with the verb in the Future Continuous form, the auxiliary verb is reduced to its root form.

Let us take a few examples. Observe the effect of addition of a modal:

  • The board might be thinking that you’re delusional.
  • I will be reaching the dormitory now.
  • The guests will be arriving at the apartment.

Each of these modals effectively reduces the auxiliary to the root form be. Hence we have different rules for Future Continuous tense with the inclusion of modals. We study the Passive Voice in the next section.

Future Continuous Tense in Passive Voice

A sentence or a verb is in active voice when the subject is the executioner of the verb, while passive voice is when the subject is the recipient of the verb. With a change in voice, all pronouns and nouns take different forms of the verb. We explore that in this section.

Let us take a few examples:

  • Active: I will be taking the readings now. (First Person singular)
  • Passive: The readings will be being taken now.
  • Active: Will you be completing the targets today? (Second Person)
  • Passive: Will the targets be being completed today?
  • Active: They will be bringing the party home tonight. (Third person plural pronoun)
  • Passive: The party will be being brought home tonight.

In each of the examples above, the passive form of the verb in the future continuous tense takes the root form be and also the present participle form being. While this is termed as grammatically correct, it is an example of paraphrasing error, which is why many adaptations of the Future Continuous tense show their corresponding passive force as non-existent.

Interrogative Sentences in the Future Continuous Tense

Here, we study the rearrangement of words of a sentence with a change in type to interrogative sentences. Let us begin with a few examples from the previous sections:

  • The union will be meeting today
  • She will be performing to her potential.
  • You will be coming here today.
  • I will be taking the readings now.
  • You will be completing the targets this week.
  • It will be growing all over the place.

The above sentences make a regular statement or what we call assert. Hence these are examples of assertive sentences. Let us now put these into the interrogative form:

  • Will the union be meeting today?
  • Will she be performing to her potential?
  • Will you be coming here today?
  • Will I be taking the readings now?
  • Will you be completing the targets this week?
  • Will it be growing all over the place?

The Observations:

Since modal verbs are mandatorily used with verbs in the Future Continuous Tense, we observe that all verbs in the Future Continuous tense are in the Present participle form, even in their interrogative forms.

Thus the different interrogative forms of assertive sentences use the following formation:

Modal + Subject Noun/Pronoun + Root form of Auxiliary + Present Participle form of Verb

Negative Sentences in the Future Continuous Tense

What happens when we change the form of assertive sentences from positive to negative form?

Let us take the examples above again:

  • The union will be meeting today.
  • She will be performing to her potential.
  • You will be coming here today.
  • I will be taking the readings now.
  • You will be completing the targets this week.
  • It will be growing all over the place.

When we convert them into the negative form, we get:

  • The union will not be meeting
  • She will not be performing to her potential.
  • You will not be coming here today.
  • I will not be taking the readings now.
  • You will not be completing the targets this week.
  • It will not be growing all over the place.

The Observations:

Since modal verbs are mandatorily used with verbs in the Future Continuous Tense, we observe that all verbs in the Future Continuous tense are in the Present participle form, even in their negative forms.

Thus the different negative forms of assertive sentences use the following formation:

Subject Noun/Pronoun + modal + not + auxiliary (root form) + Present Participle form of Verb

Conclusion

This concludes the discussion on the Future Continuous Tense.

Notes

 [1] The use of modals on verbs (other than will and shall, which are explicitly used to indicate future tense) in the Future Tenses creates confusion about the tense of the sentence. Note the examples in the discussion on modals. The addition of a modal reduces the verb from Future form to root form and thus the sentence resembles their present tense equivalent.

This means that the sentence takes the Simple Present form (with modal) if initially expressed in Simple Future form (without modal), Present Continuous form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Continuous form (without modal), Present Perfect form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Perfect form (without modal), and Present Perfect Continuous form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Perfect Continuous form (without modal).

Readers can verify the above statement by comparing the section on modals of the articles on the corresponding forms of Present and Future Tense, especially the examples of sentences after the implementation of modals other than will and shall.

Thus in situations like these, the role of adverbs becomes quite important, as they are the determiner of the tense of these sentences. Sometimes, even after the use of adverbs, the tense of the sentence is left ambiguous. In that case, irrespective of the form of the sentence before the inclusion of modals, we identify these sentences as being in the Present Tense. The subtype of the Present Tense can thereafter be determined by the conventional methods discussed in the articles on Present Tense.