Future continuous and future perfect

Future continuous and future perfect

Do you know how to use phrases like I'll be studying or I'll have finished? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

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

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Hi Ahmed Imam,

There is a subtle difference between the meanings these two forms could have here. 'think of' is usually used to say that someone has come to your mind -- for example, imagine you are in a bookshop and see a copy of a novel you read with your favourite teacher in secondary school. Seeing the book might make you think of your teacher (he or she comes into your mind).

'think about' is used when we spend some time processing ideas. For example, after seeing that novel and thinking of your teacher, you might start thinking about your experience in secondary school, i.e. your other teachers, your friends, where the school was, etc. -- this is a more extended process.

There are other ways these forms are used, but these are two of the most common. I hope that helps you understand at least this one difference.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Aishaika

Submitted by Aishaika on Fri, 31/08/2018 - 11:50

Don't come at 2:00 Am you''ll find nobody at home we'll be parting at Las Vegas club, you may come either earlier before that time or later 3 hours after we'll be getting back home. Is my sentence correct?

Hi Aisha,

The part of the sentence that says 'later three hours after' is redundant; I'd recommend 'or three hours later' instead.

Other than that, in spoken language, this sentence would be correct, but in writing it would need to be broken up into a few different sentences with some punctuation. For exampe, the beginning would need to be something like 'Don't come at 2:00 am. You won't find anybody at home. We'll be partying ...'

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Abfalter Cristian

Submitted by Abfalter Cristian on Sat, 18/08/2018 - 13:31

Hello ! Is it correct to say : - I will finish in an hour and then you can use the computer. as an alternative to previous sentence frrom this lesson :'' I'll have finished in an hour and then you can use the computer.'' Thank you !
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 19/08/2018 - 06:48

In reply to by Abfalter Cristian


Hello Abfalter Cristian,

Both of those sentences are correct, but there is a slight difference in meaning.

Your version (I will finish) tells us when you will finish exactly. It is effectively a promise to stop using the computer at a given time.

The original version (I'll have finished) does not give us an exact time, but rather a latest possible time. In other words, the person might finish in an hour, or in half an hour, or in five minutes. Of course, the suggestion is that something like an hour will be needed, but in terms of grammar the structure tells us only that the speaker will finish some time before an hour has passed.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Rana on Wed, 18/07/2018 - 14:55

Hello coud you help me with this plz by 2020 we will have been married or we will be married
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Thu, 19/07/2018 - 03:35

In reply to by Rana


Hi Rana,

Both are fine, though the second one is probably more common. In the first, 'married' is part of a passive verb and in the second it is an adjective. People also commonly speak of 'getting married', i.e. 'By 2020 we will have got married'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Ahmed Imam,

'is' is correct in this sentence. 'writing' is an uncount noun in each case and so a singular verb is used. If we changed the sentence to refer to count nouns then we'd use a plural verb: e.g. '75% of women and 50% of men like romantic comedies'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team