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 ibr otho on Sat, 13/09/2014 - 15:13

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aslam_o_alikum & hello every one iam seriously love to learn English that's why iam part of this site iam new member of this site no well come for me please :P just tell me about english or teach me

Submitted by ashu4766 on Fri, 15/08/2014 - 09:39

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hi While driving through France, we stopped to visit a famous vineyard. is above stated sentence is a past continous tense. T&R ASHISH

Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 27/08/2014 - 10:58

In reply to by ashu4766

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Hi ashu4766,

The meaning here is the same as a past continuous: 'While we were driving...' because the first part of the sentence agrees with the subject and time of the main verb in the second part of the sentence. Here, the main verb is 'stopped', which is a past form and so the participle 'driving' has a past meaning; the subject is 'we' and so we know it is 'we' who were driving.

Note that 'while + ing' does not always have a past time reference. If the main verb has, for example, a future time reference then so will the -ing form:

While staying in Paris, we will definitely visit the Louvre.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by HendrixFlame on Sat, 09/08/2014 - 18:25

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Hello, I saw in one of the teens exercise this following sentence: ' I want to sit on the beach and watch the sun go down'. Wasn't it supposed to be '... the sun goES down'. Since the verbal tense refers to Present Simple? Thanks for your attention. My best wishes!

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 26/08/2014 - 10:59

In reply to by HendrixFlame

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Hello HendrixFlame,

We're responsible for LearnEnglish (the part of the site which is for adults) rather than LearnEnglish Teens. Could you post your question on that site - the best place is the page on which you found the exercise - and the LearnEnglish Teens team will answer you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SunnyMunder on Fri, 08/08/2014 - 11:49

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What is the meaning of "I'd"?
hi SunnyMunder I am also new in this website. It's been over a year and a half since i don't practice my English but I think i could give u a hint. (I'd) may mean as far as i remember and depending on the context (I had or I would) for instance/ I'd been working for two hours(had) /I'd like to see her(would)

Submitted by SunnyMunder on Thu, 07/08/2014 - 09:28

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Hello everyone,i am pleased to be part of this website. I want to know about 'ought to'. 1.What's its definition? 2.which form of verb that is? 3.how can i use it?Give clarification with instance.

Hello SunnyMunder,

'ought' and 'should' are used in mostly the same way - you can see definitions and examples in our dictionary (see the search box on the right). Although there is some disagreement over whether 'ought' is a modal verb (like 'should'), it works like a modal verb with the exception that the to + infinitive form is used after it (instead of the bare infinitive form that occurs after the other modal verbs).

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by iceLucian on Sun, 03/08/2014 - 18:43

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Hi! I'd like to know the difference between will and shall when used in the future perfect tense since the formula is: will/ shall+ have+past participle. When do we use will or shall in a future perfect sentence? Please give me examples. Also, Id like to know if comma is used even when the time expression is placed in the end part of the sentence. For example: I will have finished my project, by tomorrow.

Hello iceLucian,

Traditionally, 'shall' was used with first person verb subjects, i.e. 'I' and 'we', but this use is quite uncommon nowadays. In other words, most of the time you will see or hear 'I/we will' instead of 'I/we shall', and I would recommend that you use 'will' instead of 'shall'. This is also true when you're forming the future perfect with 'will have'.

As for your question regarding the comma, no, a comma is not normally used in that way, i.e. the correct punctuation is: 'I will have finished my project by tomorrow'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by karunesh on Tue, 22/07/2014 - 11:28

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hello everyone, I would like to know, where i can get tenses in this site, like present, past, future...

Hi karunesh,

The Verbs section of our Grammar Reference has a lot of pages on different verb forms. See the English Grammar box on the top right of the page and click on the links you're interested in there.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by d.ralphie on Sun, 22/06/2014 - 20:47

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Hello again, Firstly, I want to thank you for your answer. And secondly I want to ask you what is the correct form: 'adviser' or 'advisor'? I know they mean the same thing but still I have a doubt when I can use a specific form. Thank you in advance, Raluca

Hello Raluca,

Both versions are acceptable spellings and can be used interchangeably.  I have seen it suggested that 'advisor' is more common when it is an official title, whereas 'adviser' has a more general meaning of anyone who gives advice at a given moment, but certainly neither is wrong in either case.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by d.ralphie on Fri, 20/06/2014 - 21:21

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Hello everyone! I’m a new member of your team and I need guidance on this particular case - what is the correct form of: In 5 years time I’ll have finished university and I’ll be able to earn some money at last. In 5 year's time I’ll have finished university and I’ll be able to earn some money at last. I mean: with or without apostrophe in the expression "years time". Have a nice day / evening! Raluca

Hello Raluca,

The correct form here is with an apostrophe, but since years is plural, the apostrophe goes after the s: "in five years' time". By the way, "in five years" is another way of saying the same thing.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by MayelaM on Mon, 16/06/2014 - 19:30

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Does the form "will + be + past participle" exist in the future? For example: It will be finished in an hour if you will help me or It will be finished in an hour if you want to help me Thanks

Hello MayelaM,

Yes, that form exists.  It is a passive form:

I will cook the dinner. [active]

The dinner will be cooked. [passive]

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for your answer, just to clarify the structure of the passive voice in this question... Are the both sentences on my question grammatically correct? In other words, can I use present or future in the second part of the sentence (after the if)? It will be finished in an hour if you will help me or It will be finished in an hour if you want to help me Thanks!

Hi Mayela,

In future time clauses that begin with if, when (and other words), the verb typically goes in the present simple form. So in the first sentence, it should be "if you help me"; the second sentence is fine.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by radia khaled on Mon, 16/06/2014 - 09:59

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Hello Mr.. this grammar is very difficult I need more expain

Hello radia khaled,

Future continuous and future perfect is a difficult area, but the explanation here is very clear and well-exemplified, in my opinion.  Is there a reason why this particular aspect of grammar is important to you at the moment?  I ask because it may well be that this section is a little too advanced for you at the moment and that it would be more beneficial to you to work on slightly less challenging areas first, such as present and past simple and continuous forms.  Over time your grammar will improve and you will find advanced structures, such as the future perfect and continuous, more accessible.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello radia khaled,

Future continuous and future perfect is a difficult area, but the explanation here is very clear and well-exemplified, in my opinion.  Is there a reason why this particular aspect of grammar is important to you at the moment?  I ask because it may well be that this section is a little too advanced for you at the moment and that it would be more beneficial to you to work on slightly less challenging areas first, such as present and past simple and continuous forms.  Over time your grammar will improve and you will find advanced structures, such as the future perfect and continuous, more accessible.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by lucas senga on Sat, 07/06/2014 - 21:21

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what can i do to improve my english i feel shy to speak in front of the people please help me.

Hello lucas senga,

Increasing confidence is often a question of practice, so it's important to speak English as often as possible.  To do this a partner is very helpful, so think about the people you know and consider if any of them could be a practice partner for you.  It may be that you know someone else who is also learning English and who would like to practise with you, or perhaps you know some people who do not speak your language but do speak English.  However, if you do not have a practice partner it does not mean that you cannot practise because it is possible to practise alone.  Just speaking English to yourself while you are at home, going about your normal daily activities, can help a great deal with your fluency and can help you to feel more confident, which will help you to cut down your hesitating.  This is a technique I have often used myself.  I am sure I would have looked rather strange if anyone had seen me walking around my home talking to myself, but it was very helpful and gave me a great deal of confidence in using the language out in the world.

You can also use the audio and video materials here on LearnEnglish to improve your fluency. After doing the exercises, try listening with the transcript (listening and reading). Then try saying the text yourself, and finally try saying it with (and at the same speed as) the recording. This will help you to develop speed in your speech, which is a key component of fluency.  You'll also pick up a lot of language as chunks - words which are often used together in set phrases - which you can use to communicate with less hesitation.

Finally, I would also remind you that spoken language is different from written language in terms of the audience's expectations.  In written language we expect a high level of accuracy and see errors in a negative light, whereas in spoken language we are much more forgiving.  Spoken language is more spontaneous, less planned, more prone to false starts, hesitation, changes of mind mid-sentence and so on, and you should therefore not have unreasonable expectations of yourself and not worry too much about achieving perfect accuracy and making no mistakes when speaking. Focus on speaking clearly and getting your meaning across.

I hope those suggestions are helpful.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Shruti Aurora on Wed, 09/04/2014 - 02:24

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Hello Sir , one more time I need a solution.... "He has no alibi" && "He doesn't have any alibi".... now if I'm not wrong both the sentences are grammatically correct . But what I want to know is that which one is more suitable between these two ?...and from a grammatical point-of-view is there any difference ? Thanks , ---- Shruti Aurora

Hello Shruti Aurora,

Both forms are correct and the meaning is the same.  However, remember that 'not any' is used with uncountable nouns or plural countable nouns, but not with singular countable nouns.  'Alibi' is a countable noun, therefore we would not say '*He doesn't have any alibi' but rather 'He doesn't have an alibi'.  We can use 'no' with singular countable nouns but it sounds quite formal, so 'He hasn't got a chair' is much more common than 'He has no chair'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter , Thank you sir.... it will help me.... thanks.. ---- Shruti

Submitted by Migs on Sat, 01/03/2014 - 23:32

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Can anyone help me make these into present tense. 1. In ancient Rome, there lived a poor slave named Androcles. His cruel master made him work from daybreak until long past nightfall. Androcles had very little time to rest and very little to eat. One day, he decided to run away from his harsh master, eventhough he would be breaking the law. 2. In the dark of night, Amdrocles got up from the miserable heap of straw and rags that served as his bed. Crouching low so he was no taller than the bushes that dotted the fields, the young slave moved swiftly away from his master's land. 3. Clouds covered the moon that night, and Androcles crossed the open fields unseen. It was only when he came to the wild woods that Androcles dared to stand up tall. 4. Androcles found a sheltered place at the foot of a tall tree. There lay himself down on a bed of pine needles and fell fast asleep. 5. When Androcles awoke, he hiked deeper into the woods so he wouldn't be found by his master. There he looked for water and simething to eat. But other than a few berries, there was no food to be found. 6. Day after day, Androcles searched for food. And day after day, he went hungry. Androcles grew so weary and weak that at last he was afraid he wouldn't live through the night. He had just enough strenght to creep up to the mouth of a cave that he had passed many times. Androcles crawled into the cave and fell into deep sleep. Thank you
Hello Mig, it's easy to change the text into present tense.Just use I Form of verb instead of II. For example: ...there lives a poor slave .... his master makes him.... he has little time to rest...he decides to run away .... and so on. I hope this will help you.

Submitted by sunita das on Thu, 27/02/2014 - 17:48

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pls help me i do not understand been verb? i have been working for two hours? has she been in Canada?

Hello sunita das,

'Been' is the third form (past participle) of 'be' and is often used as an auxiliary verb (also called helper verbs) in a number of different tenses and verb forms.  For example, your first sentence ('I have been working for two hours') is an example of a present perfect continuous form and your second sentence ('Has she been to Canada') is a present perfect simple sentence.  These forms are constructed from several elements, including 'been' and it's best not to consider the meaning of the individual elements, but to focus on the meaning and use of the tense or verb form as a whole.

You can find more about present perfect forms here and more about continuous forms here.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by cadbury555 on Thu, 27/02/2014 - 03:23

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Hi, I need some help with these; If there is spillage, do not use the broom until the spill "is cleaned." spill is cleaned or has been cleaned? Another example would be; Make sure the equipment "has dried/is dry/is dried" after cleaning. Thank you.

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 27/02/2014 - 07:26

In reply to by cadbury555

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Hi cadbury555,

In the first case you mention, I, like you, think that has been cleaned is more precise - it makes it clear that the spillage should no longer be present before the broom is used. Sometimes in subordinate clauses, verb tenses are simplified if the time is already clear from the form of the main verb. In this case, the time is not all that clear from the main verb, but it seems that whoever wrote this simplified the verb in the subordinate clause anyway. This sometimes happens, as the meaning is fairly evident, but has been cleaned would be more clear.

The second case is similar in some ways, though is dry and is dried are different contructions because they are not verbs but rather a verb (is) plus an adjective (dry or dried). As you can see in the dictionary, dried is normally used to refer to flowers or fruit and dry is used in the more general sense. Thus is dried in this sentence is perhaps strictly speaking not correct, but given the context, the meaning is clear.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sunita das on Wed, 26/02/2014 - 17:03

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thank you very much. daily i read a lot.

Submitted by Shruti Aurora on Tue, 25/02/2014 - 02:37

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What is the actual meaning of these two sentences :---- "I don't do that" &&& "I won't do that" . now as far as I know , both these sentences are grammatically correct . but I have some confusion regarding the actual meaning of these two sentences .What is the difference of meaning ? please help me , I'm eagerly waiting for the answer . --- Shruti Aurora

Hello Shruti,

Yes, they are both grammatically correct. Their exact meaning depends on context. The first one is often used to speak about daily habits, whereas the second one could be used, for example, to make a promise not to do something. I'd suggest that you look at our pages on the present simple and will and would for detailed explanations and examples of both forms.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zhulin233 on Sat, 14/12/2013 - 07:59

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Hi there! I want to ask about the prepositional phrase " at first". At is a preposition, so first is a noun or a pronoun? 

Hi zhulin233,

You are correct that 'at first' is a prepositional phrase, and as such is made up of a preposition and its object, which is a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun.  The potential source of confusion here is that 'first' is usually thought of as an adjective.  However, 'first' can be many parts of speech, including a noun.  For example:

I've never done that before so it was a first for me!

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

By the way, you can find more information on prepositional phrases here:

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-and-sentence/prepositional-phrases

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sina.koohbour on Wed, 11/12/2013 - 20:26

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Hi,

Could you please explain the difference between the following sentences ? Thank you very much.

1) I think astronauts will land on Mars by the year 2020.

2) I think astronauts will have landed on Mars by the year 2020.

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 14:45

In reply to by sina.koohbour

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Hi sina.koohbour,

Both sentences make the same prediction. The difference is that the verb form in the second one more specifically indicates that the action of landing on Mars will already be complete by 2020. The first sentence also indicates this idea with the preposition by, but the verb form is a bit less specific.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Overcomer on Thu, 10/10/2013 - 05:50

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Although I am at ease with "Future perfect" and "Future continuous," I am not very sure about "Future perfect continuous" sentences. Would you please explain that?
Hello Overcomer, An example of a future perfect continuous sentence would be: 'He will have been working on that for two weeks by the weekend.' We can contrast this with the simple form: 'He will have worked on that for two weeks by the weekend.' In this example, as is often the case with continuous forms, the difference is a small one and is a question of emphasis rather than fact. In the continuous example we are emphasising the activity (the process) rather than the action or achievement; in the simple example we are looking at the opposite. In some continuous/simple examples there is a clearer distinction, such as actions which are finished or not finished. For example: I will have read the book by Tuesday. [it will be finished] I will have been reading the book for a week by Tuesday. [it's won't be finished then] However, as we are talking about a form with future meaning these are rather less frequent (the future being more uncertain, by its nature). You can find more on the continuous aspect here [ https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar/continuous-aspect ] and more on the perfective aspect here [ https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar/perfective-aspect ]. I hope that helps to clarify it for you. Best wishes, Peter The LearnEnglish Team