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 (100 votes)

Hello Mr. Ahmed Imam,

No. 1: Future Simple Tense. Will / shall + root form of the verb)
It is used to talk about things that haven’t happened yet / to talk about an action or condition that will begin and end in the future.

No. 2: Future Perfect Tense. (Will have / won't have + past participle)
It is used to talk about something that will be completed before a specific time in the future.

I think that’s why some teachers prefer the second one.

All the very best sir,
Feroz

Submitted by LitteBlueGreat on Thu, 25/11/2021 - 07:42

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Hello, there's something makes me confused

In three years' time, I'll be studying medicine.

What I can infer from the above is

Will the studying medicine begin in 2024 if today is in 2021
Or
The studying medicine just starts at time in the future (let's say tommorow in 2021 ) and finish at time in 2024?

Which one do you think is wrong Sir?

Hi LitteBlueGreat,

Actually, that sentence doesn't tell us when the studying begins or ends. It just tells us that the studying will be in progress at that time (in three years' time = in 2024). So, the start must be before 2024, and the end must be after 2024, but that's all we can know from the sentence.

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

Sorry sir If I ask you a lot but Does this sentence have the same meaning like the above?

We'll be starting (the meeting) at six o'clock.

I've come across the sentence on Cambridge Dictionary.

So if the speaker mentions the time point at 6 oclock Does it mean that the meeting actually starts before 6 oclock? Considering that "Start" here is in continuous form..

This verb "start" always makes me puzzled moreover in continuous form. Thanks

Hi LitteBlueGreat,

I see what you mean. This sentence means that the meeting starts at 6 o'clock. It's a different meaning - the future continuous can also show a plan, arrangement or intention. See meaning number 6 on this page:
https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/english-grammar-referen…

In the sentence about studying medicine, I guess it is possible to understand it with the same meaning - that the studying begins in three years' time (not before then). But it is ambiguous, and I think will be more likely understood as the before/after meaning, so if the speaker wanted to show that the starting time was in exactly three years, the speaker would probably clarify that using a different choice of words, e.g. "In three years' time, I'll be starting my studies".

I hope that helps.

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

But it is ambiguous, and I think will be more likely understood "as the before/after meaning,"

Thanks Sir but could you explain more about a phrase I put punctuation marks above

Hi LitteBlueGreat,

Yes, sure. I mean that for this sentence ("In three years' time, I'll be studying medicine."), I expect most people will understand it to have the meaning I explained in my first comment - the studying will be in progress at that time (i.e. the person will have started studying before that time, and will continue studying after it).

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 02:53

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Hello, thank you for the lesson. Excuse me, I have a couple of questions. They are about these 2 sentences: -You can visit us during the first week of July. I won't be working then. What does "then" mean in that sentence? Is it related to the future continuous tense? - The guests are coming at 8 p.m. I'll have finished cooking by then. What does "by then" mean in that sentence? Is it related to the future perfect tense? Thank you very much

Hi GiulianaAndy,

In these sentences, then means 'that time' or 'at that time'. It refers to a time that was mentioned earlier in the conversation ('the first week of July' / '8 p.m.'). So, the speaker doesn't need to repeat that information.

No, it's not directly required by these particular tenses. But more generally, these tenses are often used with references to a specific future time (using then or other words) to make their meaning clear.

Have a look at this Cambridge Dictionary page for more examples. I hope it helps!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team