What kind of future verb tense is this: "will needs continue"?

These contests may take place at any time the competitors express their readiness, due notice of course, being given the day previous, for the benefit of the public. When once started, the gliding performances of a single contestant will needs continue several days, and plenty of entertainment is promised the public in this aero-department.

Source: “ “Gliders” at the World’s Fair. An Extraordinary Official Contest. Most Remarkable of All Flying Devices Entered in Great Aeronautic Competition. ”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, July 24, 1904, Sunday Magazine, col. 1-6, p. 4. (see col. 6, the last paragraph.)

  • I wouldn't know what "part of speech" to call it, but in the cited context, I don't think needs is a verb at all. It's a highly stylised / dated / poetic usage equivalent to ...will of necessity continue... And quite apart from the fact that the usage isn't all that common anyway, almost every other writer would use must needs continue. Feb 1 at 17:30
  • 2
    The usage was also covered much more extensively on our sister site ELU, before ELL was even set up. See Explanation of “must needs”. Feb 1 at 17:36

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