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Free English Lesson – Exploring the future continuous!

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Welcome to a free English lesson from Maltalingua. Today you will be focusing on the Future Continuous.

How often do you hear native speakers talking about the future and you aren’t quite sure what form they’re using, and why? In English, the future is a problematic area because as opposed to the past and the present, there is no future ‘tense’. However, there are several forms that are used to refer to the future. These forms have different functions and talk about the future with different levels of certainty.

This lesson is aimed at students learning English at Upper-Intermediate level or above.

One form that is often used amongst native speakers is the Future Continuous form. Have a look at how the future continuous form is used:

  1. “I can’t make it tonight… I’ll probably be studying all evening.”
  2. “So you won’t be coming to the party tomorrow, will you?”
  3. “The party will be starting at 9, in case you change your mind.”
  4. “Will I be seeing you this Saturday for lunch?”
  5. “I’ll be taking my exam in the morning.”

The form has 2 main uses. Firstly, like other continuous forms, it shows the progression of an action at a certain time/period in the future. In sentences 1 and 5 for example, the actions of studying/taking the exams will happen during or throughout the time period mentioned.

Secondly, the future continuous can simply refer to a planned action at a time in the future. In sentences 2 and 4 the speaker says this with the knowledge that a plan was made from beforehand i.e there were plans to go to the party and to meet for lunch.

Forming the future continuous form can’t be easier. As you can see above, you need the subject, the auxiliary verb ‘will be’ and a verb in the –ing form (1, 3, 5). For the negative, change ‘will’ to ‘won’t’ (2) and for the question simply to invert the subject and ‘will’ (4).

Furthermore, you might also have heard native speakers change the auxiliary ‘will’ to ‘going to’ or ‘should’, both of which have similar functions. For example:

  • I’m gonna be taking my exam in the morning on Saturday. (the spoken form of ‘going to’)
  • I should be studying all evening. (here, perhaps implying a form of obligation)

Finally, you can often switch the future continuous with other forms used in English for the future, for example:

  • I’m going to study all evening. (be going to for intentions)
  • The party starts at 9. (present simple for schedules)
  • I’m taking my exam on Saturday morning. (present continuous for fixed plans)

Now that you have a better understanding of the future continuous form, try using it to talk about your plans or things you’ll be doing tonight! Make sure to check out our video for a fuller explanation, given by our CELTA-qualified teacher.

Discover more of Maltalingua’s free English lessons. Explore more about -ed endings here.

Check out our other brilliant free English lessons here.

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