You are here

Future continuous and future perfect

Do you know how to say what you will be doing or will have done at a specific time in the future?

Look at these examples to see how the future continuous and future perfect are used.

In three years' time, I'll be studying medicine.
In five years' time, I'll have finished studying medicine.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Future continuous and future perfect: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Future continuous

We can use the future continuous (will/won't be + -ing form) to talk about future actions that: 

  • will be in progress at a specific time in the future:

When you come out of school tomorrow, I'll be boarding a plane.
Try to call before 8 o'clock. After that, we'll be watching the match.
You can visit us during the first week of July. I won't be working then.

  • we see as new, different or temporary:

Today we're taking the bus but next week we'll be taking the train.
He'll be staying with his parents for several months while his father is in recovery.
Will you be starting work earlier with your new job?

Future perfect

We use the future perfect simple (will/won't have + past participle) to talk about something that will be completed before a specific time in the future.

The guests are coming at 8 p.m. I'll have finished cooking by then.
On 9 October we'll have been married for 50 years.
Will you have gone to bed when I get back?

We can use phrases like by or by the time (meaning 'at some point before') and in or in a day's time / in two months' time / in five years' time etc. (meaning 'at the end of this period') to give the time period in which the action will be completed.

I won't have written all the reports by next week.
By the time we arrive, the kids will have gone to bed.
I'll have finished in an hour and then we can watch a film.
In three years' time, I'll have graduated from university.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Future continuous and future perfect: Grammar test 2

Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


We usually say that many and much are used in negative sentences, even so , on the Cambridge dictionary there a lot of positive sentences about many such as There are too many people chasing too few jobs, Rachel was at the party with her many admirers.

And second question,
Could you explain me difference between a coffee and some coffee (e.g what is a coffee ? what is some coffee ) and some ice cream, an ice cream. P.S i know that they are countable and uncountable but i can not imagine them as a chocolate and some chocolate ...

Hi seaara,

The key word in your first question is 'usually'. When we analyse frequency we can see that 'much' and 'many' are used most often in negative sentences, but they can be and are used in affirmative sentences too and that is why examples of these are given.

The countable forms of the words you give are commonly bought or served units. So, if I say 'I have some coffee' then I mean the substance (beans, powder, liquid), but if I say 'I have a coffee' then I mean a cup of coffee. Similarly, an ice cream means one cone, for example, and a chocolate means one piece from a box.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much!

Hello, Sir
I have read these example about the future perfect:
Three years from now we'll have been together for a decade.
In three years' time we'll have been together for a decade.
could please tell me what is the difference between them?
and according to use by and in
Can I say I will have finished my course in or by Monday
I mean Can I use in with days in the future perfect
and can I say I will have finished my course in the summer too I know we can say by the summer and can I use at too like in this example:
at the end of this course I will have known a lot about the future perfect.
Thank you, Sir

Hello sunrisereham,

'In three years' time' is less common in informal contexts, but otherwise there's no real difference in meaning between the first two sentences you ask about.

The preposition 'in' isn't used before the names of days of the week in general; when referring to time, 'by' means 'not later than' or 'at or before' – you can see some more example sentences of it with this meaning in the Cambridge Dictionary.

As for your last questions, 'by the summer' is a bit different to 'in the summer', as it specifies that you'll have finished before (or perhaps at the beginning of) the summer, whereas 'in' means sometime during the summer months. 'at' is OK in the sentence you ask about since the phrase after it already refers to the end of that time period, but 'by' is probably more common in that kind of context, i.e. with the future perfect.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, Sir

Hello Sir,
Can we say: Will you be seeing Lisa tomorrow?
Recall we do not use "see" with continuous tenses.
Would it be better to use simple tense in this case?

Thank you

Hello id347627,

When 'see' is used to describe what we do with our eyes then we generally do not use in in a continuous form. However, here 'see' means something different. It means here 'meet' and so it can be in a continuous form ('Will you be meeting...?').

There are other verbs which function in a similar way. For example, 'have' is not used generally in continuous forms when it refers to possession. However, 'have' can be used with other meanings such as 'take' ('He's having a shower') or drink ('They're having a coffee in the cafe').


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir
I wonder when we used futue perfect and future continuous we sure 100% that it will happen like I think astronauts will have landed on mars on the year 2020.
Don't phone grandma now she will be having dinner .
The last example do i'm sure that she having dinner so i told him don't phone

Hi Mema abdelhamid,

I wouldn't say it's 100% certain. You can speculate about things that seem unlikely. For example, it's fine to say 

I think astronauts will maybe have landed on Mars by the year 2020.

Future perfect describes an event in the future which will be completed by another time in the future. It does not necessarily imply certainty. Future continuous describes an event which we expect to be in progress at a particular time, but also does not imply certainty. For example:

Don't phone grandma now because there's a chance she will be having dinner.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team