We use the perfective will have when we are looking back from a point in time when something will have happened.

By the end of the decade scientists will have discovered a cure for influenza.
I will phone at six o’clock. He will have got home by then.

or looking "back" from the present:

Look at the time. The match will have started.
It’s half past five. Dad will have finished work.

We use would have as the past tense form of will have:

I phoned at six o’clock. I knew he would have got home by then.
It was half past five. Dad would have finished work.

We use would have in past conditionals to talk about something that did not happen:

If it had been a little warmer we would have gone for a swim.
He would have been very angry if he had seen you.



I've got one question. Is the response to the next question correct?
'If you could meet anyone, whom would you want to meet?"
"Personally, I could never decide whom I would like to meet because I would have to choose between..."
(Would + vb - before and after 'because'; Is it ok?)
And I would like to check the next answer as well:
Would you rather spend the day inside while it rains or outside in the sunshine?
Answer:" I would rather spend the day outside in the sunshine because I could play football with my friends. "
(Would rather+could in the same sentence. It's fine, isn't it?)
Many thanks in advance.

Hello Marua,

The only thing I would change in the first sentence is the word 'could'. I think 'can' is better because you are talking about something which is presumably still true for you now (Personally, I can never decide...). The rest of the sentence is fine.


The second sentence is fine. You could add 'then' after because (because then I could play), but it is fine as it is.



The LearnEnglish Team


I have a question.

I just read the paragraph of ''I was recently part of a team of paleontologists that discovered a new dinosaur.Living in what is now China,the species would have resembled a strange bird."

I know that first part of second sentence is adjective participle.I would like to know the meaning of " the species would have resembled a strange bird".

In that second part of second sentence,Is the writer telling us "if the truth hadn't been revealed the species could have been thougt as a strange bird.''?

Thank you for your help!

Hi Goktug123,

The idea here is that if we had been present to see it when it was alive, this dinosaur would have looked like a large bird to us. Does that make sense?

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

As far as I know the conditional participle is used in "past participle" form.I thought that "Living in what is now China" means "The species which was living in the area we know as China today."

Is it possible to use "present participle" for events which we imagine to be or never didn't happen?

In the way of you explain, I thought that the sentence would have been "LIVED in what is now China,the species WOULD RESEMBLE a strange bird."Does it seem okay?

Thank you.

Hi again Goktug123,

Yes, you are right about the meaning 'living in what is now China'. My explanation included the rest of the sentence, i.e. the idea of it resembling a bird, though it's true the sentence doesn't specifically state it's from a human perspective. In other words, your gloss is more precise than mine was -- good work!

As far as I can think, you could use the present participle in the way you ask about.

The past participle (such as 'lived' in the sentence you propose) in a participle phrase usually has a passive meaning. It's also possible, however, for it to have an active meaning, though in this case it modifies the object of the verb. Since neither of these meanings is possible in this clause because 'live' in this sense is an intransitive verb, which has no object and cannot be made passive.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk and Peter! Good day!

I have just come across a sentence which used "would have" in this manner.

"I thought that she would have visited me by now."

I need to know whether the usage of "would have", in the above statement, makes sense with a present time reference "by now". Please enlighten me with appropriate answer.

Thanks in advance!

Hello learner2018,

The phrase 'by now' means the same as 'before now' and so it is a past time reference, not a present time reference.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk,

About your answer to ShannonSK that the speaker implies there is no evidence, how about this sentence. Can it be used to imply there is no evidence?

The match should (must) have been started.

Additionally, is 'been' used correctly in the above sentence?

Hello alemardan,

The modal verb 'will' is used because the speaker is not certain. They are speculating, however strongly, and not stating a fact.


'Will' is a modal verb and other modal verbs can be used in similar constructions, though the meaning may change:


The match will have started.

This describes the speaker's strong expectation. It is a strong prediction or a guess; the speaker would be surprised if the match had not yet started.


The match might have started.

This is a much weaker guess. The speaker is not sure.


The match could have started.

This tells us that it is possible that the match has started, but we do not know if it did.


The match should have started.

This tells us that there is a reason (a rule, a plan, a tradition) for the match starting, but we do not know if it did. This might also be said as a kind of complaint or expression of surprise when the match did not start.


'Been' would only be used if a passive verb were needed, which is not the case here. You could say something like:

The match should have been started by the referee (and not by the players).



The LearnEnglish Team