I’m writing this newsletter now.
This is what I’m doing now.
What are you doing?
You’re reading this.
You probably know the grammar of these sentences:
This is present progressive tense. Some people call it present continuous.
You can use it to describe things that people are doing now.
But did you know you can also use present progressive to talk about the future?
Describing the Future with –ing
Everything stays the same, but now you’re not talking about now or today, but about tomorrow or next Monday or next year.
Some students have told me that they thought that you can use –ing only for the near future. That is not true.
This is a correct sentence:
Paul is flying to Italy next spring.
As is this:
Next week we’re hosting our friends for dinner.
The instructor is taking us for a mock exam this afternoon. (A mock exam is an exam before the exam to test that you’re ready for the exam.)
So you can use present progressive for any time in the future.
Normal Questions and Negatives
You can also ask questions and use negatives in the usual way, with present progressive, about things in the future.
Here are some examples:
Are you doing anything tomorrow night?
This is a very common question to ask before you ask someone out or do something together. In fact, I don’t know anybody who would ask this question with will:
Will you do anything tomorrow night? It doesn’t sound right!
Are you coming to the party on Wednesday?
Is Rebecca working tomorrow?
Are you going to France again for the holidays?
I’m not going anywhere tonight.
We’re not washing the dishes after the party.
Dad is not reading you a story tonight; he’s watching football.
Difference Between the Future with Present Progressive and Other Kinds of Future
Now you might ask what the difference is between the future with –ing and the future with will or going to. Good question. Have a look here. This article gives an overview of the different kinds of future there are and when and how to use them.
Get ready for the quiz.
Use future progressive (continuous) using the verbs in brackets ().
Brian _____________ (celebrate) his 25th birthday this week.
You type: is celebrating
Note: Write all the words in full. No contractions. No he’s, she’s, you’re, etc.
1 He __________ (throw) a big party for all his friends.
2 As he lives in a small flat, his friends ___________ (help) him get ready.
3 He ___________ (borrow) a lot of stuff from them.
4 A friend _____________ (give) him plates and cups.
5 Another friend __________ (bake) a cake for him.
6 Another friend _____________ (bring) salads and French bread.
7 All of his friends _____________ (buy) drinks.
8 His neighbours ___________ (lend) him a set of chairs.
9 After the party, they ___________ (come) to pick up the chairs.
10 Some neighbours ___________ (stay) for a drink.
More quizzes with present progressive: