Student or Learner
Since the present continuous and future continuous tenses could both be used to describe arranged future events. Then, what would make a native speaker choose one of the following sentences, but not the other? Would it be merely a matter of odds?
I am meeting my boss tomorrow morning.
I will be meeting my boss tomorrow morning.
Compare the two sentences:
Do you want to get together for lunch on Sunday afternoon?
No, I'll be working out at the gym Sunday afternoon.
What are you doing on Sunday afternoon?
I'm working out at the gym.
In the second exchange, "will be working out" is possible as well. In the first exchange, the fact that the event is ongoing, and that the invitation to have lunch would as well be ongoing, makes the choice of future perfect progressive more likely. This is certainly not a conscious decision on the part of the speaker, though it does give an ELL some understanding of why we, as native speakers, could choose the future continuous when speaking of what we have planned or arranged.
Also, in unit 23 of Grammar in Use the author, Raymond Murphy, points out that "you can use "will be doing" to ask about someone's plans , especially if you want something or want them to do something".
A: Will you be using your car tonight?
B: Why? Do you want to borrow it?
As well, Michael Swan observes the same thing that I observe - or something similar - about the future progressive (or continuous) on page 195 of Practical English Usage. Once again, the future progressive, or future continuous, is more likely to emphasize or show the ongoing nature of an action or event.
Page 195 220:1
Michael observes more about how or why we use the future progressive (continuous) in this section of the book; however, this more directly addresses your question.1: events in progress in the future
We can use the future progressive to say that something will be in progress (going on) at a particular moment in the future.
This time tomorrow I'll be lying on the beach.
Good luck with the exam. We'll be thinking of you.
Here's another example I can give you. Observe the difference. In the second example, the future continuous is possible as well, but in the first example, speaker B clearly wants to let speaker A know that his plan is to be occupied all day, or for much of the day, with her website.
What are you doing on Saturday?
I'll be working on my website (all day).
What are you doing on Saturday?
I'm working until 12:00. After that I'm going to get something to eat and go to the library.
Last edited by PROESL; 19-Oct-2009 at 06:33.
I will be meeting my boss tomorrow morning. - an action or event that is scheduled or arranged - The speaker views this as an ongoing event or kind of "process" - an ongoing meeting or appointment starting from the time of arrival at the meeting place.
Thank you so much for you replies. It's very rich in knowledge.
I'm just literally gobsmacked. It seems I've got some ideas in my mind but I just can not put it down at the moment. It might be better for me to read more articles and get a clear picture, before I reply.
At this stage, it seems to me that the future continuous would preferable, when describing an event which would last for a fairly lengthy period of time? Or at least, when the speaker are trying to deliver such a impression.
The way we use grammatical structures in English is not 100% grounded in rules, so this can present a challenge to learners who are trying to better understand how we use the language. Once again, as the way we use grammatical structures is not entirely grounded in rules, it might be a good idea to listen, read, and observe and ask questions then, instead studying and learning and then asking questions. Just the same, both are necessary: practical exposure to the language and studying.
Native speakers tend to use the present continuous of future programmed events because that is how they are commonly stated in the popular native languages Make that statement in Hindi and you might get what I mean
The future continuous will be generally used by those whose medium of instruction from an early age has been English or those who would think and talk in English
I would hasten to add that the present continuous is not wrong usage but the future continuous is more correct, if there can be such a thing
Using the present continuous to speak about a planned or arraged action or event is more common than using the future continuous. As well, the present continuous is as equally correct as the future continuous when used to speak of future events.
I would not hasten to add comments declaring that the future continuous is "more correct" than the present continuous when speaking of future actions or events that are planned or arranged. It's not so at all - not even a little bit.
We don't speak Hindi, and I don't believe the ELL who asked this question speaks Hindi. I would not make this sort of comparison between English and other languages. English functions as it functions, and other languages function as they function - of course.