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


Hello Alyson,

In most English grammars, a distinction is made between an indirect object and a prepositional complement, which is a prepositional phrase (usually starting with 'to') that acts as an indirect object. (For an example of this, see this Cambridge Dictionary page.) But if we loosely regard these prepositional complements as indirect objects (that is their function, after all), then you are correct about sentences 1, 2 and 3.

You're also right about 'me' and 'a gift' in sentence 4, but 'to my house' and 'for dinner' are prepositional phrases. Similarly, in sentence 5 you're right about 'someone', 'the truth' and 'the food', but 'that they have cooked' is a relative clause. Finally, in 6 you're right about the first two, but 'your family' is part of the prepositional phrase 'in your family'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Alyson,

The second pair of sentences are the correct one. When we use 'wish' to talk about our desire for something or someone to act differently, we use 'would'. In 1, it's the taxi that we wish would behave differently and in 2 it's 'you'. We can also use this structure to refer to the weather ('I wish it would stop raining'), which can seem a bit strange as we are ascribing volition to a natural force, but that's the way we use this structure!

You can read a bit more about the different forms that come after 'wish' on the Cambridge Dictionary's 'wish' page if you'd like an overview of the different possibilities.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk, I hope you are well. I have a question about this sentence. Can I say:

1. This time tomorrow you will have taken your driving test and we will have had a drink.
2. This time tomorrow you wil have taken your driving test and we will have a drink.

Thank you for your help.

Best wishes

Hello again Alyson,

Both sentences are correct, though they mean different things. If it's Monday at 18:45 when you say this, 1 means that your friend's driving test and your drink together will be finished before 18:45 on Tuesday. 2 means that the driving test is finished, but not the drink. It's not clear exactly when the drink will be, but it sounds as if it might be at 18:45 or soon after.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk, again thank you for helping me with my question. wishing you a great rest of the day. Best wishes Alyson

Question: He woke up late this morning, so he______ late for work. A) have been. B) being. C) will be. D) will have been. I am a bit confused whether to use option c or d. Can you help me finding the best suitable answer?

Hello Sujit Maji,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers for question from elsewhere (other sites, homework or tests). This would not be fair to other teachers and, besides, we would end up having to answers hundreds of such questions!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M ,
I am sorry. But I wanna be sure a bit. What's suitable for the question concerned- simple future or future perfect? It's really been as dark as night to me. If you answer this question, I will be grateful to you. If the rules are hard and fast , so it's OK. Thank you.
With regards,
Sujit Maji ( a keen follower of your website)

Hello Sujit Maji,

I'm afraid the answer here depends upon the context. Both 'will be' and 'will have been' are possible, but there is difference in meaning.

He woke up late this morning, so he will be late for work.

We would use 'will be' when the person has not yet got to work and we are making a prediction about the future.


He woke up late this morning, so he will have been late for work.

We would use 'will have been' if the person is now at work and we are speculating about what time they arrived, and whether or not they were on time. This use of 'will' is speculating about an event which has already happened, but about which we are not certain.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hey Kirk,
Here mingle refers 'in relationship'. I was in a conversation with my friends, where, they were talking about relationships. Statement was ' being a single is so bore'. And my statement was the same that I mentioned above. Which I found wrong, so I wanted to recheck upon the same.
Thank you in advance