What differences are there between using the present tense 'have', future tense 'will have', and the future progressive tense 'will be having' in the following two sentences (one statement and one question):

1) I HAVE/ WILL HAVE / WILL BE HAVING a test tomorrow morning.

My thoughts: 'Will have' seems to be the least likely option as it indicates a sudden decision of wanting to take a test as opposed to sitting a scheduled event planned in advance. 'Have' is definitely more common than 'will be having', yet I don't see any problems with the latter. So why is that the case???

2) Does anyone know when we WILL BE HAVING / WILL HAVE/ HAVE the test?

My thoughts: My ear tells me using 'have' here is grammatically incorrect, as the sentence calls for the usage of future tense in that position. What I find hard to distinguish however are the other two. When should I choose 'will be having' over 'will have' and vice versa???

Many thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2


Use the simple present to state facts which are true or regular occurrences.

  • "I have a test tomorrow." (It is a truth)
  • "I have tests on Mondays." (a regular occurrence)

Use the simple future to state a prediction, as a future imperative or to state a promise.

  • "I haven't done the homework so I will have a test tomorrow for sure."
  • "You will have broccoli." (you have no choice)
  • "I will have homework." (you can rely on it)

Use the future progressive to describe a simultaneous event (especially as a prediction) or a simultaneous event that occurs regularly.

  • "I will be having a test when they set off the fire alarm."
  • "I will be having a test and I will completely forget everything."

"To have" events such as classes, meetings, and tests, is a common expression and completely correct.

I will have a test tomorrow morning is definitive. You will definitely have a test the following morning.

I will be having a test tomorrow morning is continuous: in the future, the event will happen for an uncertain duration.

If the duration is known, for instance, the simple future is the most logical:

I will have a three hour meeting on Tuesday morning.

  • 1
    Why would the duration of the test have any bearing upon the choice of tense? Why is I have a three-hour meeting on Tuesday morning any less "logical" than I will have a three-hour meeting on Tuesday morning? Even the continuous seems no less logical than the simple future. You could be explaining your exam schedule to someone.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 19:25
  • For anyone interested, we will be having a two-hour review session tomorrow afternoon.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 19:31
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo It is illogical to use a continuous tense to express something that will take place for a certain duration. As Grammarly states here, the simple future is used "when an action is expected to occur in the future and be completed."
    – Kman3
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 19:39
  • You're putting too much stock in Grammarly. There's nothing "illogical" about it. The continuous expresses duration. Known durations are not excluded.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 19:41
  • 1
    "continuous" does not mean perpetual. A continuous action is one that takes place over a period of time.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 19:59

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