Future Progressive Modals

Relating temporary, ongoing or background activities

Planners
 

 

Will be / Are going to be

A MODAL WITH PROGRESSIVE

A progressive modal expresses a temporary future activity or an activity that will be ongoing. The opinion expressed in the modal is "mood" (intent, expectation, possibility, etc.).

SUBJECT MODAL  BE VERB+ING

We

will be 
 intent, schedule

working here tomorrow.

You

can be 
 potential

setting up this support.

The architect

may be 
 possibility

coming here tomorrow.

We

shall be
 intent

keeping to the plans.

We

should be
 expectation

getting some updated plans.

This project

must be
 requirement

nearing completion by June. 

AN EXPRESSION WITH PROGRESSIVE

A similar meaning may be expressed with be going and an adverb. A modal is followed by a plain form verb (be).  "Be going" is followed by an infinitival verb form (to + be).

SUBJECT BE GOING + TO BE VERB+ING¹

We

are going to be

working here tomorrow.

You

are potentially going to be

setting up this support.

The architect

is possibly going to be

coming here tomorrow.

We

are going to be
intend to

keeping to the plans.

We

are likely going to be

getting some updated plans.

This project

is necessarily going to be

nearing completion by June.  

 

architect – the professional who designs and draws the plans for a building
keep to (v.) – follow exactly
necessarily – by necessity
support (n.) – a steel or wood beam (long-piece) that holds up a part of the structure
Also see Be going / Will, Future Perfect

¹ gerund-participle clause (Huddleston 104,1218)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will vs. Will be

Modal Progressive

front desk
 

 

Focus on Activity vs. Ongoing Aspect

FOCUS ON INTENT

The modal will is commonly used for stating intent, information,  prediction, calculation, or schedule. The focus is on the activity not on the timing

MODAL PLAIN FORM VERB

We will

arrange a tour for you in the morning.  (single event) 
(shall, can)

We will

get you whatever you need for your comfort.
(shall, can)

We will

serve you breakfast on your balcony.
(shall, can)

We will

think of a way to fix the problem.
(shall, can)

We can

make your visit a pleasurable one.
(shall, can)

FOCUS ON CONTINUOUS ASPECT

The progressive form focuses on the ongoing (continuous) aspect of an activity. Will or shall (formal) are more commonly used in the progressive.

MODAL + BE VERB+ING¹

We will be

arranging some interesting activities for you during your stay. (ongoing)

We will be

supplying you with clean linens daily.  ongoing

We will be

serving a complimentary breakfast on the patio.  temporarily

We will   be

thinking of better ways to provide you excellent service.  ongoing

*We can be
(Use will instead.)

making your visit a pleasurable one. 

 

aspect – the form of a verb in grammar that shows whether an action is continuing, or happens always, again and again, or once.

can – has the meaning of option (choice, possibility) or ability (capability) in the sentences above.

complimentary (adj) – no charge, free, included in the room charge  (Do not confuse with complementary as in complementary colors.)

linens (n.) – sheets, towels, etc.

*not used or awkward sounding

¹ gerund-participle clause (Huddleston 104,1218)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will be going on

Background Activity

 

 

 

Indicating a Background Activity

IMMEDIATELY AFTER

The future tense is also used for time-related activities. Note that when, in this interpretation, means "immediately after".The end-point of one activity is the start time of another activity.

FUTURE INTENT RELATIVE START TIME

We will eat

when you (will) arrive. 
 

They will load the car

when you bring your suitcase downstairs to the lobby.

ONGOING IN THE BACKGROUND

The progressive form is used with time-related connectors.  A background activity is occurring with a main activity receiving the focus. Backgrounding is also called "setting the scene".

BACKGROUND ACTIVITY RELATIVE ACTIVITY

We will be eating

by the time you arrive. 
The end-point of your activity is the time at which our activity will be going on.

They will be loading the car

while you are bringing your suitcase downstairs to the lobby.  The time of your activity is the time that our activity will be going on.

 

going on – happening in the background

ongoing – occuring, continuing

Related pages By the time, When / While, After/ Before/ When.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will you be…

Polite Inquiry

 

 

 

Questioning Someone's Intent

LESS POLITE

 Both will and be going to are commonly used to question future intent. The nonprogressive form is understood as slightly less polite because it requests a decision.

Will you leave tomorrow?  (requesting a decision to be made? )

Are you going to leave tomorrow? 

Will you charge us if we take something from the mini-bar?  (Inquiring about rules, terms policy.)

Are you going to charge us if we take something from the mini-bar? 

MORE POLITE

The progressive form is used for inquiring politely about future plans. It avoids the interpretation of a request.  Instead, it asks for the result of a decision already made.

Will you be leaving tomorrow? (inquiring about a decision that has already been made)

Are you going to be leaving tomorrow?

Will you be charging us if we take something from the mini-bar? (negotiable?)

Are you going to be charging us if we take something from the mini-bar?

 

(Swan 220.3)

(Huddleston 3 §8.3b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Progressive

Future Perfect

 

 

 

Ongoing vs. Completed

FUTURE PROGRESSIVE

By the time introduces a clause in which the end-point of an activity is the time at which another activity will be ongoing.

By the time I leave work, the sun will be setting
(The sun will be starting or  be in the process of setting.)

By the time I arrive, they will be eating dinner.
(They will be just starting or be in the process of eating.)

 

FUTURE PERFECT

By the time introduces a clause in which the end-point of an activity is the time at which another activity will already be completed.

By the time I leave work, the sun will have set.
(The sun will be finished setting.)

By the time I arrive, they will have eaten dinner.
(They will be finished eating.')

 

See By the time – future perfect and Future Perfect – Passive

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

Will you leave soon?    (50% question, 50% request)

*We will be studying a new subject after we will be finishing this chapter.

*We will be knowing a lot more about the situation in twenty-four hours.

Are you going to be going right away?  This sounds awkward, but is not incorrect. 

SOLUTION

Will you be leaving soon?   This is more easily understood as a question.

We will be studying a new subject after we finish this chapter. 
(The present tense is used after a connector such as after, before, as soon as, when, while, etc.  See After/ Before/ When.)

We will know a lot more about the situation in twenty-four hours.
(Stative verbs – know, believe, have, etc.— are not commonly used in progressive tenses. See Cognitive States.)

Will you be going right away? 

 

*Yellow highlighting indicates an example of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

Advanced

 

 

 

TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

Future Progressive  (Azar  4-5)

The future progressive expresses an activity that will be in progress at a time in the future. Sometimes there is little or no difference between the future progressive and the simple future.  She will be coming soon. / She will come soon.

Future Progressive  (Swan  220-1)

  • events in progress in the futureBy this time tomorrow, we'll be flying to Disneyland.
  • events fixed or expected to happenWe'll be seeing you tomorrow. [already decided]
  • no idea of making decisionsDon't stay home because of me. No, I'll be working from home anyway.  [backgrounding]

 

Will + Progressive (Huddleston 3 §10.1)

Future progressive expresses:

  • an activity in progressWhen we get there, they'll probably still be having lunch.
  • an inquiry regarding future plans: Will you be going out this afternoon? [a question; the decision that has already been made]

    Note that using the progressive makes it clear that the question is not a request. Compare: Will you go out this afternoon? [a request; the decision has not been made yet]  (Huddleston 3 §8.3b)

Will is an auxiliary of mood; be is the auxiliary (fully capable of being inflected) which is complemented by leaving, a gerund-participle.  All three elements combine to form  a "verb group".  

REED-KELLOGG SYSTEM TREE DIAGRAM

We will be leaving at noon

Diagram: Helen is jogging around the track. 

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Making Plans

two women talking
 

 

Read

Mom:   We (leave) in a few minutes.  Are you coming with us?

Jen: I don't think so. Some friends and I (finish) some homework.

Mom:  Here, at the park? What kind of homework (do) here?

Jen:Jen:  It's math homework.  We (make) estimates of the height of trees?

Mom:  And why you (do)? 

Jen: We (apply) geometry theorems to problem-solving for our geometry class.

Mom:  Okay. I'll be shopping at the supermarket while you (work).

Jen:  All right.  We should be done should be done by the time you (return).

Mom: Okay.  Your friends (join) us for dinner?

Jen:   I don't know. I (ask) them, that is, if that's OK with you?

Mom: Sure, I'd enjoying having them come over.

 

estimate (v.) – educated guess

theorems (n.) – a statement in mathematics that you can prove by showing that it has been correctly developed from facts

 

 

 

 

 

Correct the sentences

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or  "check 1-10" button.

 

1.

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6.

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10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Checking In

front desk
 

 

Read for Errors

Hotel Receptionist: Good afternoon!  How can we help you?

GuestWe'd like to see the rooms you have available for us this weekend.

HR:  Certainly. How long are you going to be staying?

Guest: Three nights. Friday through Sunday.

HR: Will you depart Sunday or Monday?

Guest: Monday.  We'd also like an ocean view if possible.

HR: I'll see what I can find.  Will you be wanting a King or two Queens? (bed sizes)

Guest: We'd prefer a King. 

HR: We have an ocean view, King room on the second floor for $250 per night.

Guest:  Does that include breakfast?

HR:  Yes, that price will be including a complimentary breakfast.

Guest: All right.  We'll take that one. 

HR: All right.  I'll send someone to help you with your luggage.

Guest: That's OK.  We can manage them ourselves.

HR:  As you wish.  You will find the elevators straight ahead and then to your right.  We hope you'll have a pleasant stay.

Guest:  Thank you very much.

available (adj.) – suitable or ready for use; of use or service; at hand

That's OK (expression) – an informal refusal

 

 

 

 

Correct or Incorrect?

  1. Select the correct or incorrect option to describe the text in bold italics.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or  "check 11-18" button.

 

11.
HR: Good afternoon!  How can we help you?
GUEST: We'd like to see the rooms you have available for us this weekend.

   

12.
HR: Certainly. How long are you going to be staying?
GUEST: Three nights. Friday through Sunday.

   

13.
HR: Will you depart Sunday or Monday?
GUEST: Monday.  We'd also like an ocean view if possible.

   

14.
HR: I'll see what I can find.  Will you be wanting a King or two Queens? (bed sizes)
GUEST: We'd prefer a King. 

   

15.
HR: We have an ocean view, King room on the second floor for $215 per night.
GUEST: Does that include breakfast?

   

16.
HR: Yes, that price will be including a complimentary breakfast.
GUEST: All right.  We'll take that one. 

   

17.
GUEST: All right.  We'll take that one. 

HR: All right.  I'll send someone to help you with your luggage.

   

18.
GUEST: That's OK.  We can manage them ourselves.
HR: As you wish.  You will be finding the elevators straight ahead and then to your right. We hope you'll have a pleasant stay.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Jordan Remembering Whitney

Sparks & Houston

 

 

 

Read and Correct

Feb 25 2012 — Jordan Sparks, of American Idol fame, will be doing an interview with Ryan Seacrest tonight. Ms. Sparks was one of the last people to work with Whitney Houston before her untimely death. She will share some of her experiences on the set. Tri-Star Pictures is realeasing Sparkle, the film in which they starred, later in August. Sparkle is a remake of the 1976 film inspired by The Supremes which centered on three singing teenage sisters from Harlem who formed a girl group in the late 1950s.

Meanwhile, Ms. Sparks says that she will not be touring in the immediate future.  Instead, she will be promoting her "Jordan Sparks" cosmetic line which will feature facial cosmetics and fragrances. She hopes you will be loving her new fragrance "Because of You". She also will be having a new line of skin care products.  Ms. Sparks has graciously given much of her time to charity benefits.

benefit (n.) – an event that gives earnings to a charity

charity (n.) – an organization that helps individuals who are in need of housing, food or shelter

sparkle (n.) – a tiny, shiny flashing object

 

 

 

 

Edit for errors

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check'" or "check 19-22" button.
19.
Jordan Sparks, of American Idol fame, will be doing an interview with Ryan Seacrest tonight. Ms. Sparks was one of the last people to work with Whitney Houston before her untimely death. She will share some of her experiences on the set.


20.
Tri-Star Pictures is realeasing Sparkle, the film in which they starred, later in August. Sparkle is a remake of the 1976 film inspired by The Supremes which centered on three singing teenage sisters from Harlem who formed a girl group in the late 1950s.


21.
Meanwhile, Ms. Sparks says that she will not be touring in the immediate future.  Instead, she will be promoting her "Jordan Sparks" cosmetic line which will feature facial cosmetics and fragrances.


22.
She hopes you will be loving her new fragrance "Because of You". She also will be having a new line of skin care products.  Ms. Sparks has graciously given much of her time to charity benefits.