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

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sat, 15/09/2018 - 20:48

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How can I send you an attachment with my question? Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

There is no facility for sending attachments. We generally answer questions relating to our own material, not to materials (tests or other material) from elsewhere so if your question relates to something like that then I'm afraid it is outside of out area in any case.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sat, 15/09/2018 - 20:25

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Could you help me please? Are both of these forms correct or only one? If so, what is the difference in meaning between them: Experts think that Cairo (will grow - will have grown) by more than half a million people next year. thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The first sentence is correct. It tells us tells us what the speaker believes will happen next year.

 

The second sentence needs a little change:

Experts think that Cairowill have grown by more than half a million people by next year.

Experts think that Cairowill have grown by more than half a million people by the middle of next year.

Experts think that Cairowill have grown by more than half a million people by the end of next year.

We use [will have + past participle] when we are talking about something which will happen before a time in the future. We don't know or don't say exactly when it will happen, but we know it will be before a certain point.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Another problem, please: What is meant by each one of these? By the end of next year, the government will build a new school in the village. By the end of next year, the government will have built a new school in the village. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

In this context there is very little difference.

Both sentences tell us that the completion of the school will be before the end of next year. The difference is that in the first sentence the building has not yet begun. In the second sentence we do not know if it has begun or not.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

The following sentences are from Future perfect simple (I will have worked eight hours) English Grammar Today Cambridge Dictionary. No. 1 and 3 have "next year" without "By" and they use the future perfect 1- Next month my parents will have been together for thirty years. 2- At the end of this month, they will have been in their house for one year. 3- Next month I will have worked for the company for six years. Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

That's correct. What would you like to ask us about?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Fri, 07/09/2018 - 19:15

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Is there a difference between "think of" and "think about"? Please, Help. I'm totally confused after I have been searching online. Ex: I often think (of, about) the time we spent in Rome that I can't forget. Thank You.

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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Aisha na Shadee on Fri, 31/08/2018 - 11:50

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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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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

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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 !

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

In reply to by Abfalter Cristian

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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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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

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Hello coud you help me with this plz by 2020 we will have been married or we will be married

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

In reply to by Rana

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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,
Kirk
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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Fri, 22/06/2018 - 00:37

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Could you please help me about the future perfect? Is it correct to say "By 2030, many well-paid jobs will have been available in Egypt." Some teachers say that "will be" is the only correct form here. I am really confused. Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The correct form here is 'will be available'. You could use the future perfect form if you were describing an action which has a particular time of occurrence rather than an ongoing state. For example, you could say will have been created or will have been made available.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by santoga87 on Sun, 10/06/2018 - 21:01

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What "The kids are very quiet" means ? Why didn't you use word "children" instead of "kids" ?

Hi santoga87,

'kids' and 'children' mean the same thing, though 'kids' is more common in an informal context. Does that make sense given the context?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by santoga87 on Sun, 10/06/2018 - 20:50

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Hello I don't understand enough about the time that you mentioned,it's "This time tomorrow". Would you like to give it a bit of explanation ? Thank you anyway

Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 11/06/2018 - 01:50

In reply to by santoga87

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Hi santoga87,

'this time tomorrow' means 'at this time tomorrow'. In other words, if it is 14:00 on Tuesday, 'this time tomorrow' means 14:00 on Wednesday.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Tue, 17/04/2018 - 21:34

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Could you please help me with this sentence: Choose: By next year I (will have - will have had - will be having) a new car. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers to questions from elsewhere in this way. If we did then we would end up doing our users' homework or tests for them!

In this case neither option looks correct to me. The verb 'have' is not used in a dynamic way when referring to possession and I think a different verb is needed in this context, such as 'buy'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Cephei on Sat, 09/12/2017 - 18:24

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Hi I have some difficulties about how to differentiate between future perfect from future continuous, I don't know when to use each, like for example: ''I probably won't have had much experience'', that's the example they have given me but for me also makes sense '' I probably won't be having much experience''. And also in the example for future continuous : ''I'll be graduating in two years'' but for me makes sense too ''I'll have graduated in two years'', I've been trying to find a pattern for each time but I haven't been able to find it, for what I know, future continuous is used for ongoing activities in the future and for events you expect to happen meanwhile future perfect is used for events that are in the past when you view them from the future, but still I don't know when to use each.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 10/12/2017 - 08:08

In reply to by Cephei

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Hi Cephei,

When we talk about the future we often have several forms which we can use to describe a given situation, and which we choose depends on how we see it and what we want to emphasise. For example, both of the following are possible:

I'll be graduating in two years

I'll have graduated in two years

 

If you use the second then you are looking back from a point when the graduation is already done. There is no information about when the actual graduation takes place - it could be in a year and a half, in a year, in a year and eleven months etc. The only information we have is that in two years it will definitely already have happened.

If you use the first form then we have more information. In this sentence you are telling us that the actual graduation will be in progress (more or less literally) at a point two years from now.

 

Which of these forms you choose in this case depends upon non-grammatical questions: your intention, what you wish to emphasise, the context in which you are speaking, the knowledge your interlocutor already has and so on.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by blessnick on Mon, 02/04/2018 - 18:12

In reply to by Peter M.

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I don't get the sentence ' I'll have graduated in two years.' Shouldn't it be I have graduated in two years'?

Hello blessnick,

'I have graduated' would describe your present situation with reference to a past action or event.

'I will have graduated' describes a future situation. We use 'will have' when an action occurs in the future before another event or time further in the future. Thus, this sentence means means that the graduation will take place in the future before two years. It could be in two years, in a year and a half, in a year - all that we know is that before two years pass it will have happened.

You can read more about this form on this page.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by omiro on Mon, 27/11/2017 - 11:51

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Hi, thank you for the article. It's very useful but I still have a question. What is the difference btwn Future Perfect and Future Simple? For example, what's the difference between 'I'll do it by Friday' and 'I'll have done it by Friday'? Is it just the speaker's level of certainty that the action is to happen? i.e. is it just a prediction in the first sentence and a belief in the second one? Thank you in advance

Hello omiro,

It's not a difference of certainty, it's more of a different perspective. The future perfect emphasises the completion, whereas 'will' does not. In most situations, there is no strong need to use the future perfect, but you can use it if you want to emphasise completion before a certain point in time.

I hope that helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Rezaya on Mon, 23/10/2017 - 06:57

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Hi what the difference between future continuous and going to be Don’t ring at 8 o’clock. I’ll be watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Don’t ring at 8 o’clock. I'm going to be watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire. thank you.

Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 23/10/2017 - 07:17

In reply to by Rezaya

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Hello Rezaya,

In this case, there is no real difference in meaning between them. In general, 'be going to' is used to speak about a plan or intention and then the continuous infinitive ('be watching') indicates an action in progress. The future continuous has different uses, but probably the main one is to speak about a future event in progress, which is the case here.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sujit Maji on Sat, 14/10/2017 - 05:11

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Question: He woke up late this morning, so he______ late for work. A) have been. B) being. C) will be. D) will have been. I am a bit confused whether to use option c or d. Can you help me finding the best suitable answer?

Hello Sujit Maji,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers for question from elsewhere (other sites, homework or tests). This would not be fair to other teachers and, besides, we would end up having to answers hundreds of such questions!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M , I am sorry. But I wanna be sure a bit. What's suitable for the question concerned- simple future or future perfect? It's really been as dark as night to me. If you answer this question, I will be grateful to you. If the rules are hard and fast , so it's OK. Thank you. With regards, Sujit Maji ( a keen follower of your website)

Hello Sujit Maji,

I'm afraid the answer here depends upon the context. Both 'will be' and 'will have been' are possible, but there is difference in meaning.

He woke up late this morning, so he will be late for work.

We would use 'will be' when the person has not yet got to work and we are making a prediction about the future.

 

He woke up late this morning, so he will have been late for work.

We would use 'will have been' if the person is now at work and we are speculating about what time they arrived, and whether or not they were on time. This use of 'will' is speculating about an event which has already happened, but about which we are not certain.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Suffi sharma on Sun, 24/09/2017 - 15:43

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Hey Kirk, Here mingle refers 'in relationship'. I was in a conversation with my friends, where, they were talking about relationships. Statement was ' being a single is so bore'. And my statement was the same that I mentioned above. Which I found wrong, so I wanted to recheck upon the same. Thank you in advance Suffi

Hello again Suffi sharma,

I'm not familiar with that use of 'mingle', but that could be because it's slang or from another variety of English. If you've seen or heard it used similarly in several other contexts, then it might be acceptable in similar contexts. Unless it's relatively new slang, I wouldn't say most speakers of British or American English would completely understand it, either.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Suffi sharma on Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:53

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My question is not relevant of the current page but just wanted to check upon the statement. Please let me know if this is wrong. 'There is no fun being a mingle as well.' Thanks.

Hello Suffi sharma,

Our main purpose here in the comments is to answer questions about our site or questions that are directly related to it, though we try to help our users with other questions as well. In any case, we ask for your questions to be as specific as possible. What is it about this sentence that you are unsure of? To be honest, I don't understand it, mostly because I don't understand what you mean by 'mingle'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by kprakashb on Fri, 25/08/2017 - 08:16

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Hello Team, Good Morning! When i was asked to be prepared for a meeting next week, is it correct to respond, I will have prepared for the meeting? Please correct me if i am in saying so.

Hello kprakashb,

That's correct. Other ways you might respond would be 'I'll be prepared for the meeting' or 'I'll be ready for the meeting' (the most natural way, in my opinion).

It is hard to be sure which of these is best without knowing the context or your relationship with your colleagues, however.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by i.leonidas on Wed, 09/08/2017 - 06:54

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"He will be tired because he will have been exercising so hard." I came across this sentence on some other site and found two members arguing over the correct meaning of this sentence. One argued the sentence meant "the person will be tired in future because of the exercise he will be doing, the exercise being already completed by the time he feels tired"; implying that the action of exercising will get stopped by then. The other glued himself to the opinion that "he will be tired because of the exercise that will still be going on at that moment from some definite point of time in past"; implying that the action will be continuing at that moment. I don't know if I have made my points clear or not but I hope I have done so. So what I want to ask is which one is the correct explanation of the sentence? Can anyone please help me through this?

Hello i.leonidas,

We normally don't comment on content from other sources, but since this is quite specific I'll tell you how I see it. The continuous aspect used here (in 'will have been exercising') can refer to different aspects of the action being described, so it's not actually completely clear without the context or more specific language. I'd say that it's more likely for the exercise to have finished at the time of speaking, but it is possible that it's still ongoing.

I hope that makes sense. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ei Ei Zin on Sun, 06/08/2017 - 16:08

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I'll have completed car loan repayment by 2020 :)

Submitted by Ei Ei Zin on Sun, 06/08/2017 - 16:07

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This time next year I'll be staying in somewhere of USA I'll have completed car loan payment in 2020 :) Don't ring me at tomorrow 9PM. I'll be watching movie at cinema with my boyfriend :)