The rule we were taught says that present continuous can be used for the future when the action implies “planning and arrangement”.

And yet if I planned to be somewhere tomorrow, I still couldn’t say:

  1. I’m being there tomorrow. { ❌   ᴜɴɢʀᴀᴍᴍᴀᴛɪᴄᴀʟ﹗}

Instead, I’d have to use the form:

  1. I’m going to be there tomorrow.

Why is that? Am I missing some important distinction or nuance in the rule we were taught?

  • 1
    I assume it's the same reason we don't usually say things like Before leaving home I had had to obey my parents, where the two different instances of the verb to have are being used in completely different ways (first setting the timeframe thru Past Perfect, second using the phrasal verb to have to for to be obliged to). In I am being out tonight the adjacency of those two different usages of the verb to be is incredibly AWKWARD (but not imho inherently "syntactically invalid" - just "totally non-idiomatic" compared to I am going out tonight). Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 15:36
  • Maybe you're right about planning and arranging, which being is not. I'm visiting grandma tomorrow. I'm eating crow tomorrow. Actually it's fine to say I am there for the whole weekend, and I am in Trinidad from then on. Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 15:38
  • 1
    I am being served crow for dinner tonight. Yosef will be being served crow tomorrow. Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 15:40
  • I've heard 'be' in the 'existing' and certainly 'acting something out' senses used this way: "I'm being in Kent all next week" / "I'm being Lancelot in Arthur next month" / "I'm being good from now on; Father Christmas is due", but they're informal usages. It's usually dynamic rather than stative verb-usages that are used this way ("I'm going to Kent tomorrow" / "I'm acting in Arthur next month"). Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 15:41
  • @EdwinAshworth: I don't much like that being in Kent example, but I've no problem at all with I'm being Lancelot in Arthur next month. And I've no reason to suppose "informal" is relevant to the latter. Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


One doesn't ordinarily say

  • *I'm being there tomorrow.

to indicate one's future location. True.
On the other hand, one doesn't ordinarily say

  • *I'm being home today.

to indicate one's present location, either.

The problem is not with the future, nor with the rule about using progressive for future, though it's a stupid rule if it doesn't tell you that the progressive (or continuous) construction does not apply to stative predicates. And locatives are stative. Similar problems occur with other stative predicates:

  • *He's being tall.
  • *It's being warm today.
  • *He's owning that house.

The progressive construction is for Active predicates -- verbs, mostly, like go, run, sit, rent, compile, write, ..., but also behavioral adjectives like dishonest, impolite, rude, ... You can say He's being rude but not *He's being tall. So, for active predicates, you can use the progressive to indicate future time, under the appropriate circumstances.

Executive summary: Don't take grammar rules too seriously. Most of the ones in books are BS.

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