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Future continuous and future perfect

Do you know how to use phrases like I'll be studying or I'll have finished?

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



These are different forms of the verb.

'Make' is an infinitive or present form.

'Made' is a past simple or past participle form.

These are fundamental verb forms and their use is detailed on relevant pages in the grammar section on verbs - here. For questions like this - very broad and general questions about fundamental aspects of the grammatical system - the comments section is not really a good place, but the grammar section contains this information and you can work through it at your own pace.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
what is the difference between these two sentences?
I think everyone is going to the dinner on Friday
The program starts at ten.
both talk about future. But why don't we write : "The program is starting at ten" and "I think everyone goes to the dinner on Friday"
Thank you

Hello wisefool,

The present simple is often used to talk about timetabled events, e.g. such as a program starting at 10. The dinner on Friday is a one-time event and is viewed as a plan – this is a typical use of 'going to'. Please see our talking about the future page for more on this topic in general.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Sit
I have read we can also use the future continuous in prediction.
So please I want to know what is the difference between those examples
those clouds look very dark. it will be raining.
look at those clouds. it's going to rain.
Thank you

Hello sunrisereham,

You first example sentence is odd because 'going to' is typically used when we can see conditions (such as dark clouds) that cause us to make a prediction for the near future. 

The future continuous could be used to make a prediction if you regard the future event as normal in some way or if it's already planned. For example, since both you and I are regular users at LearnEnglish, I could say 'I'll be seeing you around' – this is a prediction of a future event that is to be expected since we are both regular users.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I had some douts about future perfect and this lesson has help me a lot, so thanks a lot for the help rigards.

Hello The LearnEnglish Team,

I was wondering whether it would be grammatically correct to use either the future perfect or future simple with time expressions such as "by the end of this month" or "in two weeks", etc. Is the role of the future perfect simply to emphasize the completion of the activity mentioned by the time stated, while the future simple merely predicts that the activity will happen without stressing its completion?

Thank you for your time in advance.

Best regards,

Hello SnjezaB,

The form [will be + verb-ing] suggests that an activity is in progress rather than being complete, irrespective of the time reference. Even if you add a time reference such as 'by the end of the week' the implication is that the activity is in progress rather than finished.

The form [will have + verb3] suggests completion, again irrespective of the time reference. Of course, if the verb is one such as 'start' or 'begin' then the completion might only refer to the starting of the activity, not the activity itself.

No exceptions to the above occur to me, but I think this question really needs concrete examples rather than abstract explanations. If you can provide one or two examples of the kind of sentence you have in mind and we'll be happy to comment on them.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

"I think astronauts will have landed on Mars by the year 2020." Instead of writing this can we write "I think astronauts will land on Mars by the 2020?"

Hello ankita,

Yes, that is also correct, except you should say just 'by 2020' instead of 'by the 2020'.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team