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 Timothy555 on Sat, 12/06/2021 - 12:00

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Hello, referring to your example above for future continuous tense, your article mentioned "When you come out of school tomorrow, I'll be boarding a plane" as an example of the use of the future continuous tense for actions that will be in progress at a specific time in the future. Am I right to say that "When you come out of school" refers to a future action which serves as a time marker (i.e. a specific time in the future), and "I'll be boarding a plane" refers to a longer action in the future which will be in progress at a specific future time represented by the action of "coming out of school" (so this means that the longer action of boarding the plane started anytime before the action of "coming out of school occurred", and continued after the action of "coming out of school" occurred). Is my understanding correct? Thanks.

Hello Tim,

That's correct and is a good summary. Well done!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Mon, 12/04/2021 - 05:03

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Hello team. Could you please tell me which form is correct? Why? 1- In five years' time, many projects will be carried out. 2- In five years' time, many projects will have been carried out. Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

In 1, the projects won't necessarily be finished in five years' time. In 2, the projects will have already been finished by then.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Maahir on Thu, 08/04/2021 - 07:57

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Hi Sir, I am wondering the difference between the Future continues and the P continues with going to. for example I am going to buy a new car by next month or I will be buying a new car by next month. if I ma not wrong we use both "going to and Future Continues" to talk about future plans so, my question is what is the difference between the two tenses and which one we use to where? Thanks in advance.
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Submitted by Jonathan R on Fri, 09/04/2021 - 11:41

In reply to by Maahir

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Hi Maahir,

Both going to and the future continuous show plans, but the future continuous shows a higher degree of certainty. If you say I will be buying a new car, it shows that you are very sure that this will actually happen. If you say I am going to buy a new car, it doesn't show such certainty. Buying a new car may be just your dream or intention.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jack Red on Sun, 21/03/2021 - 10:05

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Hi, I looked at Cambridge's grammar book and it is written that future simple is used for the things that will definetly happen and we cannot control. Example: Jill will be 2 years old next month. The colour of the moon will turn into red tomorrow night. Also, it is written that future continuous is used for the things that will defiently happen as a consequence of a routine or arrangement. Example: He will be working as a lifeguard in the summer. Don't ask him. I'll be seeing him anyway in the meeting. These 2 are too similar and confusing. For example, there is a question in my grammar book. It is like this: I ... turn 20 in 2 weeks' time. A)will turn B)will be turning. I thought that either one could be used but the answer is B. I could not understand why. Can you explain it tome please?
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Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 06:55

In reply to by Jack Red

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Hello Jack Red,

You are right that both forms (will turn and will be turning) are correct here.

 

I think the explanations you quote are only examples of uses, not the only uses possible. It's quite possible to use will + verb to describe choices (things we control), for example, as well as things we do not control. It's also quite possible to use will be + verbing to describe things that we expect (in the present as well as the future) as part of a normal and predictable process.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Zuzanna on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 10:10

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Dear Sir, In my book is a sentence: " We also use will be-ing to talk about complete actions in the future." Could you explain to me what ''complete actions'' mean? Can I use Future Continuous to talk about what will be finished in the future? I thought we use Future Simple then. Please help me. Best regards, Zuzanna
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Submitted by Kirk Moore on Fri, 12/02/2021 - 10:53

In reply to by Zuzanna

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Hello Zuzanna,

I'm afraid I can't think of an example for that usage off the top of my head -- that sounds strange to me. Sorry!

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team