Do you know when to use the future continuous (e.g. I'll be studying) and future perfect (e.g. I'll have studied)?

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. 


Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


Sir / Ma'm,

Could you provide a brief explanation of the differences between these four (mentioned below):-

a) I asked
b) I have asked
c) I had asked
d) I have been asked

Kindly give some exaple for these four, by which we (the beginner) may understand the exact differences between the time frames of these four.

Earnestly waiting for an answer. Please help me.

Thanking you.

Warm Regards,
Shruti Aurora

Hello Shruti Aurora,

I'm afraid it's not possible to give you a brief answer. What you are asking is a huge question: there are four verb forms here with multiple meanings, different in different contexts and with meanings that depend upon other parts of the sentence. It would be possible to write a book in answer to your question!

What I suggest is that you use the grammar section, especially the section on verbs, to study these forms. Then, if you have any specific questions we'll be happy to try to help.

The names of the forms are

a) past simple

b) present perfect

c) past perfect

d) present perfect passive

You can find links to these in the verbs part of the grammar section.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

May I know if following sentence is correct? Can future perfect be used in this context?

The manager wants the team to start thinking about the project plan and the team will have updated him before end of next month.

Hello kstan,

Yes, that is fine, grammatically speaking - other than the missing definite article before 'end'. However, I think a better option stylistically and for clarity would be:

The manager wants the team to start thinking about the project plan and for them to update him before the end of next month.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

"You don't need to know that what am i doing" Is this a correct sentence

Hello Shali,

No, that is not correct. It would be correct if it were without 'that':

You don't need to know what am i doing.

I have one request for you: please try to post questions on relevant pages. This page is about future continuous and future perfect, and your question is not about those forms. Posting questions on relevant pages means the questions and answers can be seen by people learning about those issues and are therefore more useful.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Could you please tell me what's the correct option in this question? and let me know its reason.
David: When are you going to the club, do you know?
(Nick goes to the club every Friday)
Nick: I (will have gone / will be going / will have been) there next Friday.
Thanks a lot.

Hello F.Hasani,

The middle option ('will be going') is the one that makes most sense to me, because the two future perfect forms don't seem to have anything to do with the idea of completion, though they are possibly correct. What sort of exercise is this? Perhaps the teacher who gave you this exercise can explain it better. 

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Kirk

I am so grateful for your help and sorry for my late reply to you. I guess the purpose of the question is the difference between future perfect and future continuous. But what's the difference between (will have gone) and (will have been)? Could you please help me.

Best regards

Hello F.Hasani,

The difference between the future perfect and future continuous is explained above, and the exercise is designed to help you check your understanding of it. If you have any specific questions about it, then we're happy to help, but we don't generally explain grammar that's already explained on one of our pages.

The difference between 'will have gone' and 'will have been' is the difference between 'go' and 'be', though please note that 'have been (to a place)' is often used to mean that one has visited a place, i.e. gone there and returned home. Both forms are a bit unusual in talking about an activity that takes place every week - that's why I preferred the middle answer.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team