English Grammar Course Unit 10: Will be doing and will have done

Why should you study this unit?

You will be at a meeting tomorrow when your cousin arrives at your house. You can’t wait to know he/she has arrived, but the meeting is a very important one and you don’t want anyone calling you from home. How will you tell your family members that at about the same time your cousin arrives, you will be in middle of a presentation and therefore not call your number?

This unit will help you understand how to talk about such situations.

A. First study this example situation:

Tom is a football fan, and there is a football game on television this evening. The game begins at 7:30 and ends at 9:15. Mary wants to go and see Tom this evening and wants to know what time to come over:

  • Mary: Is it all right if I come over at about 8:30?
  • Tom: No, don’t come then. I‘ll be watching the game on TV.
  • Mary: Oh. Well, what about 9:30?
  • Tom: Yes, that’ll be fine. The game will have ended by then.

B. We use will be doing (future continuous) to say that we will be in the middle of doing something at a certain time in the future. The football game begins at 7:30 and ends at 9:15. So during this time, for example at 8:30, Tom will be watching the match. Here are some more examples:

  • You’ll recognize her when you see her. She‘ll be wearing a yellow hat.
  • This time next week I’ll be on vacation. I‘ll probably be lying on a beautiful beach.

Compare will be doing with the other continuous forms:

Mathew works every morning from 9 o’clock until noon. So:

  • At 10 o’clock yesterday he was working(past continuous – see Unit 12)
  • It’s 10 o’clock now. He is working(present continuous – see Unit 1)
  • At 10 o’clock tomorrow he will be working.

C. You can also use will be doing in another way: to talk about things that are already planned or decided:

  • I’ll be going downtown later. Can I get you anything?

With this meaning will be doing is similar to am doing (see section a of Unit 4):

  • I’m going downtown later. We often use Will (yoube –ing? to ask about people’s plans, especially when we want something or want someone to do something:
  • “Will you be using your bicycle this evening?” “No, you can take it.”
  • Will you be passing the post office when you go out?” “Yes, why?”

D. We use will have done (future perfect) to say that something will already have happened before a certain time in the future. Tom’s football game ends at 9:15. So after this time, for example at 9:30, “the game will have ended. Here are some more examples:

  • Next year is Tom’s and Mary’s 25th wedding anniversary. They will have been married for 25 years. (Now they have been married for 24 years.)
  • We’re late. I guess the movie will already have started by the time we get to the theater.

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