Teaching the Future Progressive Tense

ESL curriculumNative English speakers use this tense without thinking about it. When it’s your first language it’s automatic, but our experience teaching in a number of different countries has made us aware of the difficulties for students learning English as a second language. I remember my Czech students shaking their heads and asking, “Do people really talk that way?” In the following paragraphs I’ll try to explain the grammar in a simple way and provide some practice activities.  Let’s look first at the Simple Future Tense

When someone is talking about something that will happen in the future, the simple future tense is used.

Use:  will + the root form of the verb = will drive

EXAMPLE: I will drive to town tomorrow.

Negative: I will not drive. = I won’t drive.

 The Future Progressive Tense is another way of talking about the future.

ESL curriculumThis form is used when we talk about something we plan or are planning to do.

Use:  to be + going + the infinitive = am going to walk up the mountain.

Singular:am going to walk up the mountain.

You are going to walk up the mountain.

He / She / It / is going to walkup the mountain.

Plural: We / You / They/ are going to walk up the mountain.

The best way for the students to feel comfortable with this tense is for them to practice using it in real life situations. Have them divide into small groups and practice role-playing this dialogue.

Narrator: Rose, Luke, Carol and Tom had a good time visiting Mahatma Gandhi’s Memorial. Sitting at breakfast in the hotel the next morning, they are planning their last day in Delhi.

ESL curriculumCarol:    What are we going to do today?

Luke:     Let’s go to the Lotus Temple.

Carol:    I like that idea!

Tom:     We’re going to get the bus home at six o’clock tonight.

Rose:    Yes, we are going to be tired, but we can sleep on the bus!

Carol:    Yes, we’re going to have twelve hours to sleep!

Have the students work in small groups to ask and answer these questions. They can check their answers from the box provided.

ESL curriculum


1.  Are you going to leave home at half past eight?

2.  Are you going to have tea with your friend tomorrow?

3.  Are you going to help your friend tomorrow?

4.  Are you going to go to your friend’s party tonight?

5.  Are you going to be at class tomorrow?

6.  Are you going to go hiking in the mountains next week?

7.  Are you going to visit a big city next year?

8.  Are you going to take something to your friend’s party?

Fortunately, the use of this tense is quite flexible. Although it needs to be introduced to the students, it’s possible for them to use the simple future in many cases. Their laughter as they work together will make this rather convoluted tense seem a lot easier.

See Also:

ESL Curriculum

Students using our curriculum learn their grammar.

About brian_mu8dft39

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Successful-ESL-Ltd/322661351104350
This entry was posted in English Grammar, ESL Activities, ESL Suggestions, Teaching English, Tips for Teachers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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