Past Future Continuous Tense

The Past Future Continuous Tense is basically similar to the future continuous tense. What makes them different is that the Future Continuous expresses an action will be in progress in the future; whilst the Past Future Continuous tells an action would be in progress in the past. So to make you easy learn the Past Future Continuous Tense you’d better study first the Future Continuous Tense then change it into the past form.

To build a more comprehensive understanding I will make the following illustration:
Last night, a friend of mine sent me a text telling me that he would come to my house at 8. But I had planned to watch a charity concert from 7-10 p.m. So at 8 I would be watching the concert. Then I told my friend that I couldn’t meet him at that time. Then I can express this event in Past Future Continuous Tense as follow.

At 8 p.m last night, I would be seeing a concert.


The Patterns

1. Was going to be + Verb-ing

Affirmative

Subject + was/were going to be + Verb-ing —>> I was going to be doing …..

Negative

Subject + was/were + not + going to be + Verb-ing—>> I was not going to be doing …..

Interrogative (Yes/No Question)

Was/Were + subject + going to be + Verb-ing—>> Were you going to be doing …..?

2. Would be + Verb-ing

Affirmative

Subject + would + be + Verb-ing —>> I would be doing ….

Negative

Subject + would + not + be + Verb-ing —->> I would not be doing….

Interrogative (Yes/No Question)

Would + Subject + be + Verb-ing –>> Would you be doing ….?

Time Signals

The time signals usually used with the Past Future Continuous Tense among others are at 9 last night, at 10 this morning, yesterday, last week, etc.

The Uses

The Past Future Continuous is used to express:

1. A predicted or planned action in the past;

We can use the Past Future Continuous Tense to express an action which was predicted or planned to be in progress at a specific time in the past. The specific time tells us what time the action was predicted to being happened or done; or we can express the time in a time clause.

Examples:

  • She would be watching the tutorial video at 9 last night.
  • They would be discussing about hot issue at 10 this morning.
  • We would be reviewing the lesson when suddenly we heard a very hard explossion last night.

2. An interrupted action in the past;

The next use of Past Future Continuous Tense is to tell an action which was planned to be in progress in the past but was interupted by another action. In this case we combine the Past Future Continuous Tensewith the Simple Past. The interupting action is stated in the Simple Past which functions as an adverb of time, whilst the interupted action is in the Past Future Continuous Tense. Then the pattern is as follow:

When + subject1 + simple past, subject2 + past future continuous
Or
Subject1 + past future continuous + when + subject2 + simple past

Examples:

  • When I came to his house yesterday morning, he would be taking a bath.
  • They would be having dinner when we visited them in the hotel last night.
  • She would be taking a nap when someone knocked on the door yesterday afternoon.

3. Two actions would be in progress at the same time in the past;

We can also use the Past Future Continuous to tell two actions which were predicted or planned would be in progress at the same time in the past. In this case the pattern that we use is as follow:

While + subject1 + past future continuous, subject2 + past future continuous
Or
Subject1 + future continuous + while + subject2 + future continuous

Examples:

  • I would be cleaning the house while mom would be cooking for breakfast this morning.
  • John would be singing while Rita would be dancing last night.
  • While the teacher would be teaching English, the students would be paying attention to him yesterday.

4. an action we were sure to happen in the past.

Telling an action we were sure to happen in the past can be done in the past future continuous tense.

Examples:

  • I guessed it would be raining soon yesterday since the sky was very dark.
  • I thought he would be finishing the assignment last night because it was easy.
  • I was sure she would be winning contest because she prepared it very well a month before.

Check the 16 English Tenses you want to study more below!

Present

Past

Future

Past Future

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