1 When I reitre I will be planting plants

2 When I reitre I will plant plants

Are both versions correct and naturl? I'm asking because my teacher clamis that with so long actions such as "retirement" which may take years it is only accepetable to use the futurs simple

  • I assume you mean "retire"? And maybe get a spell-checker. It depends if you will plant plants after retirement, or be already doing it when you retire.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 29 at 11:13
  • Just curious, why don't you trust your teacher? There are ways to argue with the principle, but it's pretty good "in general." Commented Jan 29 at 19:30
  • I prefer to ask natives when in doubt and gain as much knowledge as possible Commented Jan 29 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


Technically, future continuous means action spread out over a period of time. Future simple means a one-time event.

But in this case, both are acceptable, idiomatic, and mean the same thing. When you use a word or phrase that indicates something occurring over a period of time, like "when I retire", the simple future can mean action occuring over that same period.

The meaning depends on context. Like if you said, "When I retire, I will move my investments to bonds", presumably you mean that you are going to do this once, not that you will continually be moving investments. Because once you've moved them all once, there are no more investments to move. But if you said, "When I retire, I will sleep late", you almost surely do not mean that you will sleep late one time. You mean you will sleep late regularly.

It could be ambiguous. Like if you said, "When I retire, I will visit my grandchildren", you might mean that you are planning one big trip to visit your grandchildrenn, that you will make sometime after retiring. Or you could mean that when you are retired you will regularly visit your grandchildren. You would have to add additional words to clarify, like "I will make a big trip and visit all my grandchildren", or "I will visit my grandchildren every week."

  • What if I say "When I reitre I will be visiting my grandchildren". Is it idiomatic nad corrrct too? Commented Jan 29 at 13:41
  • @Duppp Yes. And also potentially ambiguous whether you mean visiting regularly over the course of your retirement, or making one visit that requires an extended period of time. But yes, also grammatically correct and idiomatic.
    – Jay
    Commented Jan 29 at 15:46

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