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

Average: 4.1 (106 votes)

Submitted by Dastenova Firuza on Sun, 12/07/2020 - 16:31

I repeated the rules and tenewed my knowledge. Thank you.

Submitted by Teresa R. on Tue, 23/06/2020 - 17:23

Hello. I still have troubles understanding the difference between future continuous and future simple. Whenever I come across the future continuous in books and movies I ask myself: “Would it be correct if I used the future simple instead?” For example, in this excerpt from “Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban” the author used this tense: MINISTRY OF MAGIC EMPLOYEE SCOOPS GRAND PRIZE Arthur Weasley, Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office at the Ministry of Magic, has won the annual Daily Prophet Grand Prize Galleon Draw. A delighted Mr. Weasley told the Daily Prophet, “We will be spending the gold on a summer holiday in Egypt, where our eldest son, Bill, works as a curse breaker for Gringotts Wizarding Bank.” I don’t understand why is “we will be spending” and not “we will spend”. Would it mean a different thing if it was future simple? Also in this book Hermione talks about how little she likes Divination, because this subject is not based on facts and the teacher is a little bit too dramatic, and she uses the future continuous: If being good at Divination means I have to pretend to see death omens in a lump of tea leaves, I’m not sure I’ll be studying it much longer! That lesson was absolute rubbish compared with my Arithmancy class!” Why does she use “I’ll be studying?” I thought the future simple must be used for strong intentions. Can you help me understand this difference?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 24/06/2020 - 06:42

In reply to by Teresa R.


Hello Sarah Word,

Very often both will and will be verb-ing are possible in the same sentence. The choice depends on how the speaker sees the action.


Will implies a decision which is made at or around the time of speaking, or else a guess, prediction or belief about the future.

We will spend the gold on a summer holiday in Egypt, where our eldest son, Bill, works as a curse breaker for Gringotts Wizarding Bank.”

If Mr. Weasley said this, then we would understand that this was a decision he was making as or just before he spoke.

Similarly, in the second example, Hermione would be talking about her choice or decision.


Will be verb-ing is a little different. We often use it to describe something we see as a natural or expected result of a particular situation. It tells us something is expected and unsurprising, or an obvious conclusion.

When Mr. Weasley says we'll be spending it on..., we understand that for him this is an obvious and natural choice.

Similarly, when Hermione says I don't think I'll be studying it much longer, she is implying that this is the obvious result of her poor experience in Divination classes to date.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by cittàutopica on Fri, 12/06/2020 - 17:25

Can you explain because in sentence "7. Let's call Rory. He'll .... arrived by now", the right answer is "have" but no "has"? Thanks.

Hello cittàutopica,

The reason have is needed is because we have the auxiliary will. To make a perfect modal verb we use havewill have, should have, could have, might hate etc.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lovely_indeed on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 02:36

Hi! I have a question about Q5 from Test 2. The right answer is: 5. I'm afraid I [won't] be coming tonight. I have a meeting until late. However, I don't see why it must be future continuous. Is it grammatically wrong to say: "I'm afraid I'm not coming tonight."? Would anyone tell me what is the difference between "I won't be coming" and "I'm not coming"?
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 07:04

In reply to by Lovely_indeed


Hello Lovely_Indeed

You're right -- 'I'm not coming' is also a possible correct form here, though of course it doesn't fit in the gap. In fact, in some of the other sentences other forms are also possible, but the gaps limit the answers you can write.

It's a difficult to explain the difference between 'I won't be coming' and 'I'm not coming' without knowing the precise context, but in general it's a matter of how the speaker views the time she is talking about. 'I'm not coming' is a simple statement of a plan, but 'I won't be coming' can imply, for example, that the speaker is thinking of how she's going to be sitting in a meeting at the time she had planned to go to a party. In other words, she's thinking of actions in progress at a specific time later that evening. 

So both sentences communicate the basic idea that she's not going, but using the future continuous form can communicate subtle ideas as well.

Hope this helps.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sun, 10/05/2020 - 17:22

Hello. Which form is correct in the following sentence, please? Why - By 2025, solar heating (will be used - will have been used ) in home and industry. Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

I think will be used is the most likely option here. Will have been used would suggest that its use had ended, unless you add a duration: will have been used for over twenty years.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by NinaZ on Mon, 04/05/2020 - 12:04

Hello, I would like to know if this sentence contains a will progressive (future continuous), if so could you explain why the form in question is used. Thank you. Police will be watching you when N.J. parks, golf courses reopen Saturday