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

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Average: 2.4 (5 votes)

Hello Teresa R.,

Both forms are grammatically correct and the difference in meaning is quite subtle.

Present continuous is used when an arrangement has been made. In other words, a plan or intention is seen as having gone beyond just being an idea and has taken real form. This my mean that an official decision has been taken, or that some steps have been taken (confirming with others, making reservations, taking time off work, buying tickets etc).

Will + verb-ing is used to express expectation or visualisation. We often use it when we are describing something which is seen as part of the normal course of events, including with present time reference. For example:

People will be waking up in Tokyo in a couple of hours.

The Mars Rover will be reaching its next target this afternoon.

Sue will be taking her exam right now.

 

In terms of your example, both forms are possible. You might be talking about a piece of information which has just been confirmed, in which case present continuous is more likely, or you might be imagining the situation next week and how you will feel, in which case will + verb-ing is more likely. Without a clear context it's not possible to say.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Fri, 17/12/2021 - 08:42

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Hello Team. Is the following sentence grammatically incorrect?
- By tomorrow, I'll book the tickets.
Thank you.

Hi Ahmed Imam,

It is correct, but it would be more common to put the verb phrase ("I'll book the tickets") at the start of the sentence, and "by tomorrow" at the end.

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Alaa El Baddini on Sun, 12/12/2021 - 18:38

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I think we (will run - will have run) out of oil in the next hundred years
In the next day, they (will send - will have sent) people to mars
What’s the correct answer please

Hello Alaa El Baddini,

In the first sentence, both answers are possible, but I suppose the answer the teacher had in mind was 'will have run'. In the end, both mean the same thing, but 'will have' looks at the time in the future when there's no oil left and 'will' looks at the time when the last oil is used up.

The second sentence sounds a little odd to me, perhaps because it's out of context. But if I had to choose an answer I suppose I'd choose 'will send'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk.
1- What is the meaning of "in the next day" in sentence No. 2 ?
Also can we use the future continuous or not?
- In the next day, they will be sending people to Mars.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

'in the next day' is not correct in standard British or American English, but I suppose it refers to 'the next day', i.e. the day after today.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Natasa Tanasa on Tue, 07/12/2021 - 22:33

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Dear teachers,

Could you please help me with the following sentences?
Are these sentences correct:

1. I am going to finish my second book by the end of this year. (publish)
---- > My second book will have published by the end of this year.
2. We planted the trees nearly three years ago. (grow) ---- >
This year the trees will have grown for three years?

Hello Natasa Tanasa,

1. The past participle of 'be' is missing from what I suppose is supposed to be a passive sentence: 'My second book will have been published by the end of this year' would be correct, but as written it is not.

2. Your sentence is grammatically correct. It would be a little odd in general use, but in context it would be fine. Though here it looks like a simple sentence transformation exercise and your suggestion looks fine to me. You could also use a continuous form: 'This year the trees will have been growing for three years'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Wed, 01/12/2021 - 16:58

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Hello Team. Could you please help me? Which form is correct or both? Why? Some teachers insist that No. 2 is correct but I believe No. 1 is correct, right?
1- All Egyptian schools will apply E-learning by 2030.
2- All Egyptian schools will have applied E-learning by 2030.
Thank you.