Unit 22: Looking to the future
Select a unit
- 1 Pop-ups
- 2 Hidden talents
- 3 Can't buy me love
- 4 Travellers' tales
- 5 The colleague from hell
- 6 Jurassic mystery: unpacking the past
- 7 Career changes
- 8 Art
- 9 Project management
- 10 The dog ate my homework!
- 11 The diary of a double agent
- 12 Fashion forward
- 13 Flat pack skyscrapers
- 14 Extreme sports
- 15 Food fads
- 16 Me, my selfie and I
- 17 Endangered animals
- 18 A nip and a tuck: cosmetic surgery
- 19 I'm really sorry...
- 20 Telling stories
- 21 Fakes and phrasals
- 22 Looking to the future
- 23 Becoming familiar with things
- 24 From rags to riches
- 25 Against the odds
- 26 Our future on Mars?
- 27 Where is it illegal to get a fish drunk?
- 28 Dodgy dating
- 29 Annoying advice
- 30 I'll have been studying English for thirty weeks
Future continuous and be + infinitive with future sense
Meaning and use
We use the future continuous to talk about events that will be in progress at a particular time or over a period of time in the future. These are usually plans or predictions.
- I will be travelling around for three months before heading for Nepal.
This time next year he’ll be working in Dubai.
A taxi will be waiting outside the station when you arrive.
The sky looks very dark. It’ll be raining soon.
What will you be doing tonight?
We can also use the future continuous to say that a future action will be in progress at the same time as another action.
- I’ll be thinking of you when I’m sitting on the beach in the Bahamas.
Be + infinitive
We use be + infinitive to talk about future events which involve instruction or necessity.
- Students are to enter the hall from the back.
The children are to do their homework before watching TV.
You’re not to go out without telling me!
This structure is usually used in more formal English and to describe official arrangements.
- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to visit India next month.
They are to be married soon.
The be + infinitive structure is frequently used in newspaper, radio and television reports. It expresses near certainty that what is forecast will happen.
- A man is to appear in court later today charged with murder.
The company has announced that it is to close 200 of its high street stores.
Take note: future continuous for assumption, enquiries and emphasis
We can also use the future continuous to say what we believe or imagine to be true.
- It’s seven o’clock. She’ll be driving back now.
We also use it for emphasis when talking about plans or intentions.
- We won’t be taking the car on the ferry to France. It’s too expensive.
In this case it can be replaced by the present continuous or going to + main verb.
- We’re not taking the car on the ferry to France. It’s too expensive. (present continuous)
(We’re not going to take the car on the ferry to France. It’s too expensive. (going to + main verb)
The future continuous is sometimes used to make polite enquiries about people’s plans.
- Will you be staying for dinner?
Future continuous positive
subject + will + be + -ing form of verb
- I’ll be starting in the south and making my way north by train.
Future continuous negative
subject + won’t + be + -ing form of verb
- They won’t be staying very long as they have to get back.
Present perfect continuous questions are made with:
will / won’t + subject + be + -ing form of verb
We can also use question words.
- Why will they be arriving so late tonight?
Be + infinitive positive
subject + be + infinitive with to
- The prime minister is to give a speech tonight at the town hall.
subject + not + be + infinitive with to
- You’re not to go to bed late tonight. You’ve got to get up early tomorrow.
Take note: shall/will
Sometimes, and in more formal situations, we can also use shall / shan’t instead of will / won’t with I and we in future continuous sentences.
I shall be arriving late tonight as the concert doesn’t finish until 11.30.
I shan’t be leaving here before 8 tonight as I have so much work to do.Pronunciation
We often use a contraction with will in the future continuous in informal writing and when speaking:
They’ll be wondering where we are.