I've been learning English for some years now, and I still couldn't can't wrap my head around how to properly use the continuous aspect. I did a bit of research before posting this question, desperately trying to make some sense of this, and I ended up with the continuous aspect generally indicates the action is not completed at the time of speaking or something along those lines. But I don't think that applies to these sentences.

Another overlooked consideration is whether they will be teaching in a monolingual or a multilingual classroom setting.

Adult students may be arriving to your class tired after a long day at work.

I was sick before filming this video, so I might be coughing a bit during my reaction.

I will probably be running through this video again after the first viewing.

I’ve been noting down similar ones because they don't match what the usual grammar books have taught me, which is just so mind-boggling. Until this morning, I remembered what a great teacher of mine once shared with me, utilizing the lyrics from “Way Back Into Love”.

And if I open my heart again, I guess I'm hoping you'll be there for me in the end

My teacher said I’m hoping here signals some uncertainty with a hint of fear and anxiety in the girl’s mind when she sang that. It would be a different story if she worded it as I hope.

So I’m wondering if that’s the answer I’ve been searching for to save me from the confusion brought in by the sentences above? Thank you.

And is the difference between "I write this to..." and "I am writing this to..." when one begins an email, in a way, also based on how the continuous aspect work in those examples?

  • 1
    The continuous, as the name implies, means that the action is ongoing. The person who might be coughing may cough more than once during the relevant period of time. More than one tired student may arrive while the class is assembling. Sep 30, 2021 at 12:33
  • 1
    The future is uncertain. Your first three examples speak of (more or less probable) eventualities, seen as likely to be durative or iterative (coughing over say 4 hours may be regarded as iterative or continuous [in a broadened sense]). // 'I will probably run through this video again after the first viewing' is totally acceptable, idiomatic, treating the viewing as a whole. I'd say that the choice of the continuous here shows merely hedging, conversational softening / lubricating. Less clinical, more inviting. This pragmatic effect is hinted at in all your examples. Sep 30, 2021 at 14:10
  • 1
    What your teacher said about continuous "I’m hoping" signalling some uncertainty with a hint of fear and anxiety looks like complete nonsense to me. I can't see any good reason to use continuous in any of your first three examples (I don't accept that this meaningfully shifts the "emphasis" in any way; it's just pointless "verbosity"). But in the 4th ("I'm hoping") example, it adds emphadis / urgency. Sep 30, 2021 at 18:04
  • What is your home language? What is essentially happening is that the speaker is projecting him/herself into the time to which the statement refers. From the point of view of that time. In the other languages I know this is not possible, or not always. "Tomorrow I shall be visiting my parents". But in French the best you can do os 'demain je serais en train de visiter mes parents', which sounds wrong. I could make a proper answer, which involves time limits. it would help to know your language.
    – Tuffy
    Sep 30, 2021 at 18:45
  • Your continuous future merely emphasizes the actual activity. I will be seeing you tomorrow. is warm and friendly. I will see you tomorrow. is more matter of fact. You have to feel the difference. Whoopee, tomorrow I will surf on these waves right here. [not so exciting; bland] Whoopee, tomorrow I will be surfing on these waves.
    – Lambie
    Sep 30, 2021 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


No disrespect! But ᛫᛫᛫᛫᛫ Having read the 4 sentence you’ve providedꓹ it’s evident all were written in “future continuous tenseꓹ hence 7 still remain to be explored.

present continuous

Subject + is|am|are + verb(ing)

I am heading to the restaurant in Chinatown.

present prefect continuous

Subject + has|have + been + verb(ing) + since|for

He has been seeing the therapist since 2019.|for 2 years now.

past continuous

Subject + was|were + verb(ing)

They were hiding in the bunker during the Metroid shower.

past perfection continuous

Subject + had been + verb(ing)

We had been dining at this restaurant every weekend for last 1¹ ̸₂ years.

future perfect continuous

Subject + will|may have been + verb(ing)

She may have been carrying the virusꓹ of which the mortality rate is Highest in that of the Country.

future past continuous

Subject + would|should|could|might be + verb(ing)

If it wasn’t for the kind gentleman who pulled over to help us, we still would be standing on the roadside waiting hours for AA to reach us.

future past perfect continuous

Subject + would|should|could|might have been + verb(ing)

If they didn’t let their pride compromise the love they have for each other, their marriage could have been celebrating the triumphs of togethernessꓼ collaboration.

  • I've been asked not to use special symbols like ➀, ➁, ➂, ➃, ➄, ➅, and ➆, because they are harder for blind people to read, and harder to index (i.e., to search for). Oct 31, 2021 at 5:22

You must log in to answer this question.