I want to know the difference between future tense and future progressive tense. For example, 'I will eat an apple' and ' I will be eating an apple'. What is the difference between two expression in meaning?

closed as off-topic by user3169, Glorfindel, Em., JavaLatte, Alejandro Aug 2 '16 at 19:31

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  • It's really hard to answer questions without having the proper context — will can be used as a spontaneous decision at the moment of speaking, like I'm hungry. I'll eat an apple. On the other hand, the future continuous it's just used for an action in progress in the future. For instance, This time next Monday, I'll be eating an apple. – Alejandro Aug 2 '16 at 19:30

Without much context, these will be practically identical statements. However, there is a subtle difference when you look at the action for each case.

I will eat an apple.

This means that in the future, you will perform the action of eating an apple.

I will be eating an apple.

This means that in the future, you will be in the state of eating an apple.

In the first case, the focus is on what it is you will do: eat the apple. In the second case, the focus is on what your status is: being occupied with eating an apple. When context is added, this actually changes things a bit. Consider the following additions:

I will eat an apple when it's noon.


I will be eating an apple when it's noon.

Now, the difference in meaning is a bit more clear. In the first sentence, the implication is that the passing of noon is what causes me to eat an apple. Or, in other words, the implication is that I won't eat an apple until it's noon. In the second sentence, that idea isn't there. All that I'm telling is that when noon arrives, I will be eating an apple. Perhaps I'd be eating an apple before noon. Perhaps I'd be eating the same apple for three hours incredibly slowly, and that when noon comes, I will still be in the process of eating it. Because the tense changed, the focus went from the action of eating the apple to the process of eating an apple, and that caused the timing of the action to change with it.


She'll be driving six white horses when she comes.

In the future, when she arrives, she will be engaged in the act of driving those horses. The arrival is understood to be a single event and is thus presented in the simple tense, comes; the action of driving the horses is understood to be an ongoing activity, and it is presented in the continuous.

I am supposed to meet her in the lobby. I don't know what she looks like, but she said "I will be wearing a polka dot dress".

If she had said "I will wear a polka dot dress", she would have meant that it was her intention to be visible and easy to spot. The progressive adds the nuance "When you are there trying to spot me, looking around the room, I will be the one in the polka dot dress". Those polka-dots will not merely be present; they will be an ongoing aspect of her presence.

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