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While I was talking to one of my friends, he changed a sentence which used the future continuous tense into one using the passive voice.

When I asked him about this, he showed me a picture from a BBC English broadcast demonstrating the same thing:

I will be playing cricket.

Cricket will be being played by me.

Is my friend correct that this is acceptable English?

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The continuous form is used to state or ask what was, is or will be happening at a given moment. So, if you call your friend and ask: What are you doing? she may answer: I'm playing cricket (for example, she is standing on the boundary with her phone in her pocket when you call).

If you tell your friend that you intend to call her around 7pm tomorrow, she may reply: Sorry, but I'll be playing cricket. In other words, around the time that you plan to phone, she will be on the cricket field and unable to take your call. (The simple future I will play cricket is not possible in this context.)

In the passive form, the object is made the subject or topic of the sentence. So in a context where sports are the subject of discussion, the passive is just about conceivable.

Which sports will be being played after school tomorrow?

  • Cricket will be being played by me.

  • Tennis will be being played by John.

  • Badminton will be being played by Mary.

But as Parrott in Grammar for English Teachers (p336) states:

Some people dislike putting two forms of be together (e.g. be being or been being) ... They avoid standard passive constructions in the future continuous or predent perfect continuous.

Perhaps you could ask your friend why he or she changed your perfectly usual statement into one that would be perceived by native speakers as extremely odd. It would also be useful to link to the BBC English page referred to in the question.

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  • Hello, @Shoe. That's the point. How can we use "be &being"together?I am still gloomy about this. – I don't know who I am. Mar 6 '16 at 11:35
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    We can use them together but as Parrott states and Swan in Practical English Usage (p412) claims: Future progressive passives and perfect progressive passives are unusual. I think your question is more about the passive than about verb tense. Cricket is played by me every Sunday is an equally odd-sounding sentence. – Shoe Mar 6 '16 at 11:46
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"I will be playing cricket" is perfectly fine. But you could just say "I will play cricket" to make it simpler.

However, "cricket will be being played by me" must be changed to: Cricket will be played by me.

The active voice is usually preferred.

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  • In the last line you mentioned active voice. By that what sentence did you refer to? – Man_From_India Mar 6 '16 at 6:39
  • Active voice is where the subject is the one doing the action. Passive voice is where the action is turned into the passive part of the verb like "be moved." Active: He was moving the car. Passive: The car was being moved by him. – Aziz Mar 6 '16 at 6:49
  • Hello, Aziz. I am trying to ask you people regarding (Future continuous tense). Is it correct to the passive sentence of this tense? By the way, I have never ever read such kind of rule in certified books. Such as; Wren&Martin, Oxford Practice Grammar and A practical English grammar, but I have found a few pages on Google where it has been converted into passive voice. Therefore, you people are respectfully requested to have a look at my question please. – I don't know who I am. Mar 6 '16 at 11:30
  • In Cricket will be being played by me, the first be is the progressive auxiliary be (in the progressive construction be V-ing), and the second (in the form being) is the passive auxiliary be (in the passive construction be V-ed). In your example, you got rid of the progressive auxiliary, but you kept the passive auxiliary, so your example is equally passive. If you fix that and add an explanation of why the passive voice isn't likely to be appropriate in this example, your answer would be more helpful. – snailplane Apr 23 '16 at 7:51

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