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


I am not able to find future tense ( simple ,continuous or perfect ) in 'grammar section'. I think there would be detailed clarification of these topics than in 'quick grammar section'. I have studied present and past tenses in grammar section but I can't find future tenses there except only one page "talking about future". I don't want to disturb you guys but guide me as soon as you can.
Thanks for Efforts

Hello munish,

The Quick grammar is not a comprehensive grammar – instead, it's a list of topics that we've found many learners ask about. The English grammar is more comprehensive and does not include a section on the future tense because in fact, in the view of many grammarians, including Dave Willis, the author of this section, there is no future tense in English! This comes down to how you define a tense, which is an issue we're really not all that interested in here at LearnEnglish. But the talking about the future page is the page with the most information about this topic, though there are others – try searching for 'future' using our search facility (at the top right of the page).

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for your reply sir,
but could you please tell me how do you define 'tense' (not a full description but just a simple definition so that I can understand your views.)
Thanks for your great help

Hello munish064,

A tense is generally described as follows (this is taken from the Cambridge Dictionaries Online):

1 any of the ​forms of a ​verb which show the ​time at which an ​action ​happened:
"I ​sing" is in the ​present tense and "I ​sang" is in the past tense.

The key word here is 'form', which refers to a change in the shape of the verb, not to the use of extra words. This is why 'will + verb' is not viewed by grammarians as a tense - it is a modal verb, like 'should', 'must' and so on. It can have future meaning, but it can have other meanings too. English uses modal verbs, present forms, past forms, lexical phrases and other devices to talk about the future, but does not have one form which is, grammatically speaking, a 'future tense'.

For more explanation on how English talks about the future please take a look at this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much sir ....but "will +verb" is used in future simple form only. There is '-ing form' in future continuous form and past participle form in future perfect form. So it's confusing me. I am sorry for wasting your time for such a stupid question.

Hello munish064,

I'm not sure what your question is here. In my original answer I said that English uses many forms to talk about the future, including the forms you mention. Please visit the link I posted to see which forms are used.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Respected sir;
Thanks for your reply,
As you said in your previous reply "The key word here is 'form', which refers to a change in the shape of the verb, not to the use of extra words. This is why 'will + verb' is not viewed by grammarians as a tense " So i was asking that 'will +verb' form is used in future indefinite only; not in future perfect and future perfect continuous, so why they are not regarded as 'tenses'.
Sorry for a stupid question once again.

Hello munish064,

I'm afraid I don't understand the distinction you are trying to make. All of these forms use modal verbs, and are not considered true 'tenses'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

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