Suppose I want to ask a listener about whether future action happened.

I think the following construction isn't suit for the case

Will this action happened in the future?

Because I think will something/somebody + infinitve is used for giving order. Is the future progressive more suitable for the case?

  • 1
    By definition future actions can't have happened yet. You might ask whether they will happen: Will this action happen in the future? or Is this action going to happen?
    – Jim
    Aug 10, 2014 at 4:57
  • @Jim But M Swan in the practical Englsih usage says that with a verb reffering to an action, will you + infinitive usually introduced an order or request. So I guess the future progressive is common in the case. Aug 10, 2014 at 5:12
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    But that's "will you" not "will" But you are correct, the sentence "Will you open the door?" could either be a request, a command, or a question about a future action. Only context can tell you which.
    – Jim
    Aug 10, 2014 at 5:25
  • @Jim Can the future progresive be used in such the case? I mean Will this action be happening in the future? Aug 10, 2014 at 5:54

1 Answer 1


The sentence

Will this action happened in the future?

contains a grammatic error: Will is a modal verb, and may only be followed by a verb in the infinitive: will + happen not will *happened.

Hence, the proper form is

Will this action happen in the future?

Regarding your mention of the use of this construction in orders and requests: it depends on which words you use, and on the situation.

Will somebody/you/anybody open the window?

is likely to be a request or order, while

Will this strong wind open the window?

is clearly neither a request nor order, unless Strong Wind is the name of a person.

Will summer follow the spring?

is unlikely to be a request, whereas

Will you follow this red car?

is pretty likely to be one, especially if said to a taxi driver by a passenger.

  • Could you possibly explain can the Future Prog be used in such case? Aug 10, 2014 at 5:55
  • The progressive form is used to stress the fact that the process is ongoing, that is has some duration. It will change the meaning, sometimes drastically. You'd better ask a separate question on that, with examples of sentences you want to change into the progressive. Aug 10, 2014 at 5:59
  • But M. Swan says that the future progressive is also used to refer to future events (without progressive meaning) which are fixed or decided. Aug 10, 2014 at 7:16
  • I think that "Will this action be happening in the future?" refers to something happening over a period of time. The meaning could be different with other kinds of verbs, I'm not that savvy in grammar to answer straight away. (0: Aug 10, 2014 at 7:37
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    Minor, minor nitpick: when presenting multiple options in English, we use the forward slash / rather than the backslash \.
    – user230
    Aug 10, 2014 at 8:56

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