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. 

Exercise

Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

Dear Peter,

Thanks a lot for your feedback! The more I'm thinking about the English tense system, the more I realize you should have a kind of 'gut feeling' for it to use this or that tense properly. And as Kirk says it takes time and you need a lot of language exposure.

I totally agree with you that each case is context dependent. E.g. I'm taking the sentence from Kirk's answer 'Will you meet me at 12?' 'Sorry. I'll be seeing my father'. The speaker can mean by this:
1) certainty, almost inevitability like 'The meeting is going to happen whatever. I just can't cancel that even if you want me to. No use asking';
2) emphasis on duration - I'm already booked for the WHOLE afternoon but I'll be free in the evening;
3) emotional involvement - I'm all excited about this lunch. I haven't seen my dad for ages or I'm afraid of this meeting and the conversation is going to be hard time;
4) or a combination of those, right?

So I'll be reading and watching in English more to get it.

Helen

Hi sir
Could you tell me which one is true?
We'll know/ we'll have known a bit more this weekend when we'll research the whole thing on the internet.

Hello Puckerino,

I would say the first is correct (we'll know) as the reference is to a future time. We use the future perfect (we'll have known) when the time reference is to a point before a point in the future, and that is not the case here.

The verb in the second clause should probably be present simple (when we research) as we generally use present forms after time linkers such as this.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team 

Thank you very much.

Could anybody explain the meaning of the following sentence:
The New Company of the Year WILL HAVE GONE PUBLIC LAST YEAR? Why LAST year.
The sentence was taken from Pass Cambridge BEC Vantage Self-study practice tests, p.9.
thanks

Hello Natalia,

The future perfect can be used to say that you think that something happened in the past – that is the way it is being used in this sentence. This is quite an advanced form that is not used all that often, which is why you won't find it explained elsewhere on our site.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 Thanks a lot. I really did fail to find anything on the subject even in advanced and proficiency grammar books

I will be learning in new technologies to get my position higher than now. (Future Continuous)
Most lady will be wearing make-up when they go for sitting interview. (Assuming)
I will have to change my job in next year. (Future Perfect with "in")
I will have to start own-business by the year 2020. (Future Perfect with "by")

Hi. I have a question about Future Perfect Continuous.
Is it possible to use 'since' in this tense, like to say that:
In 2020 I will have been living in France since 2017.
I know that since is generally used for the past but is it possible to use it anyhow in a future tense?? Thanks in advance for your answer.

Hello kudlata,

Yes, you can use 'since' with the future perfect continuous – your sentence is perfect! Congratulations!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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