the difference between words: will and will be + ing

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Today I’d like to write about the difference between two grammar forms that are about the future: “will” and “will be” + ing. Generally, we use “will” to talk about future events in general, but we use “will be” + ing when we want to focus on a specific time or event in the future. For example:

A: What will you do tomorrow?

B: I’ll work tomorrow.

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A: What will you be doing at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow?

B: I’ll be working at that time.

So, in this case, the two speakers are focusing on the specific time of 2:00 and contrasting that with what will happen during the whole day.

However, we can also say something like:

A: What will you be doing tomorrow?

B: I’ll be working all day tomorrow.

In this case, the speakers are focusing on tomorrow as a unit of time and contrasting that with what will happen during the whole week or month.

Here are some other ways in which we use “will” and “will be” + ing when talking about the future:

I’ll probably be asleep by the time you get home, so please don’t make too much noise.

I’ll probably be sleeping by the time you get home, so please don’t make too much noise.

I will have a meeting with my boss tomorrow about my business trip.

When you get up tomorrow, I’ll be talking with my boss about my business trip.

The plane will land soon, so please fasten your seatbelts.

We will be landing in about fifteen minutes, so please fasten your seatbelts.

We can also use “will be” + ing to talk about future events which are already fixed or decided. For example:

A: What will you be doing at the conference?

B: I’ll be giving a presentation about our new product.

I’ll be working at our new branch tomorrow, so you can reach me there.

My husband got a promotion at work. From now on, he’ll be heading the marketing department at his company.

So, in these cases, the event has already been decided on in the past, and now it is a firm plan.

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3 Comments »

  1. misa Said:

    Hello.
    I found your Blog by your twitter and I’ve read your lesson.I’m a Japanese. May I ask you some questions?
    When the speakers are focusing on the specific time, they use “will+ be + ~ing”. So, it’s strange to say “What will you be doing tomorrow?” I need to add the words that show specific time and situation. Is it right?
    I often use “be going to do” to talk about the future. I learned “be going to do” express the future with a definite plan. I guess “I’ll be working at that time” and “I’m going to work at that time” have almost same meaning. Are there any different points between them?
    I’m interested in your Blog.I’m glad if you allow me to ask you questions about your blog.

    • Hi there.

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      We can say “What will you be doing tomorrow?” if we’re using “tomorrow” as a specific unit of time against a larger unit of time such as a week or a month.

      You’re right that “going to” expresses the future with a definite plan but “I’m going to work at that time” and “I’ll be working at that time” are different. “I’m going to work at that time.” means I have decided before to work at that time, but “I’ll be working at that time.” means if you contact me at that time, you will find out that I’m working. Therefore, “going to” indicates a sense of a person making a decision to do something, but “will be” + ing does not.

      I hope that’s clear. Feel free to ask me other questions. I’ll do my best to answer them.

      Mike

  2. misa Said:

    Hello.
    Thank yuu for your reply. It’s difficult to know and understand the English nuance for me.Your comment helped me to understand the point.


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