The future continuous (will be + ‘ing’ form) and the future perfect (will have + past participle) tenses are used to talk about events in the future.

Future continuous

  • Don’t ring at 8 o’clock. I’ll be watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
  • This time tomorrow we’ll be sitting on the beach. I can’t wait!

We use the future continuous to talk about something that will be in progress at or around a time in the future.

  • Don’t phone grandma now, she’ll be having dinner.
  • The kids are very quiet. They’ll be doing something wrong, I know it!

These sentences are not about the future but we can use the future continuous to talk about what we assume is happening at the moment.

Future Perfect

  • Do you think you will have finished it by next Thursday?
  • In 5 years time I’ll have finished university and I’ll be able to earn some money at last.

We use the future perfect to say that something will be finished by a particular time in the future.

We often use the future perfect with ‘by’ or ‘in

  • I think astronauts will have landed on Mars by the year 2020.
  • I’ll have finished in an hour and then you can use the computer.

By’ means ‘not later than a particular time’ and ‘in’ means 'within a period of time’. We don’t know exactly when something will finish.

  • I promise I’ll have done all the work by next Saturday.

We don’t know exactly when he will finish the work – maybe Thursday, maybe Friday – but definitely before Saturday. 

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Hi

I have some difficulties about how to differentiate between future perfect from future continuous, I don't know when to use each, like for example: ''I probably won't have had much experience'', that's the example they have given me but for me also makes sense '' I probably won't be having much experience''.

And also in the example for future continuous : ''I'll be graduating in two years'' but for me makes sense too ''I'll have graduated in two years'', I've been trying to find a pattern for each time but I haven't been able to find it, for what I know, future continuous is used for ongoing activities in the future and for events you expect to happen meanwhile future perfect is used for events that are in the past when you view them from the future, but still I don't know when to use each.

Hi Cephei,

When we talk about the future we often have several forms which we can use to describe a given situation, and which we choose depends on how we see it and what we want to emphasise. For example, both of the following are possible:

I'll be graduating in two years

I'll have graduated in two years

 

If you use the second then you are looking back from a point when the graduation is already done. There is no information about when the actual graduation takes place - it could be in a year and a half, in a year, in a year and eleven months etc. The only information we have is that in two years it will definitely already have happened.

If you use the first form then we have more information. In this sentence you are telling us that the actual graduation will be in progress (more or less literally) at a point two years from now.

 

Which of these forms you choose in this case depends upon non-grammatical questions: your intention, what you wish to emphasise, the context in which you are speaking, the knowledge your interlocutor already has and so on.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I don't get the sentence ' I'll have graduated in two years.' Shouldn't it be I have graduated in two years'?

Hello blessnick,

'I have graduated' would describe your present situation with reference to a past action or event.

'I will have graduated' describes a future situation. We use 'will have' when an action occurs in the future before another event or time further in the future. Thus, this sentence means means that the graduation will take place in the future before two years. It could be in two years, in a year and a half, in a year - all that we know is that before two years pass it will have happened.

You can read more about this form on this page.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, thank you for the article. It's very useful but I still have a question.
What is the difference btwn Future Perfect and Future Simple? For example, what's the difference between 'I'll do it by Friday' and 'I'll have done it by Friday'? Is it just the speaker's level of certainty that the action is to happen? i.e. is it just a prediction in the first sentence and a belief in the second one?
Thank you in advance

Hello omiro,

It's not a difference of certainty, it's more of a different perspective. The future perfect emphasises the completion, whereas 'will' does not. In most situations, there is no strong need to use the future perfect, but you can use it if you want to emphasise completion before a certain point in time.

I hope that helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Now I see. Thank you!

Hi
what the difference between future continuous and going to be
Don’t ring at 8 o’clock. I’ll be watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
Don’t ring at 8 o’clock. I'm going to be watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
thank you.

Hello Rezaya,

In this case, there is no real difference in meaning between them. In general, 'be going to' is used to speak about a plan or intention and then the continuous infinitive ('be watching') indicates an action in progress. The future continuous has different uses, but probably the main one is to speak about a future event in progress, which is the case here.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk, sorry to bother you again, but I have a question about the following sentences:
Can you say this:

1 I wish that taxi came soon?
2. I wish you stopped singing?

or should it be said like this:

1 I wish that taxi would come soon?
2. I wish you would stop singing?

Thanks again for all of your help.

Best wishes
Alyson

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