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Trainer got stuck in traffic so we will be starting at 11 AM.
Trainer got stuck in traffic so we will start at 11 am.

Is there any difference between future tense and future continuous tense.

Why do people say "we will be starting"?

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These are mostly equivalent, but...

Trainer got stuck in traffic so we will start at 11 am.

This comes off as a bit more strict. It doesn't leave a lot of leeway for the idea that "starting" is a process that could take a while. You get the sense that a person who would speak this directly would perhaps be the type of person to be mad if everyone wasn't attentive and ready to go at 11:00 A.M. exactly.

Trainer got stuck in traffic so we will be starting at 11 AM.

The "will be starting" is the more easy-going sounding way that people would say it. Here a "start" isn't a description of something happening in an instant...it's a state of "starting" that you can "be" in--for some amount of time.

Most people would probably go with "starting" here. But really, it's a pretty subtle distinction.

  • Is "are going to start " possible? – V.V. Feb 22 '16 at 6:13
  • @V.V. Yes... "we are going to start" and "we are starting" would be similar cases with the same slight distinction between them. For the shade of meaning between "I will" vs "I'm going to", see other questions... – HostileFork Feb 22 '16 at 6:19
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I would not interpret any difference into this use of future and future continuous. The last one is longer and thereby has automatically more weight than the simple future.

When you ask Google what's the difference between the two futures you get answers as in http://www.really-learn-english.com/future-progressive.html

I would say forget it. If someone in a hotel says I will be leaving tomorrow it isn't his idea to say tomorrow he will be in the middle of leaving the hotel. That is naive grammar. It is just a matter of giving the future weight and importance.

Of course, the future continuous can be used to express the idea of in the middle of doing something as in Tommorrow is the first day of my holiday and I'll be lying on the beach. Here this idea of continuity makes sense. But that is relatively rare.

In most cases when people use future continuous they only want to express their idea with weight.

I'm trying to find a source that backs up my view. But I think it will be a long search.

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