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 (101 votes)

Submitted by bridge23d on Fri, 07/10/2022 - 06:11


Hi Sir, could you please help me to clarify the following sentence;
"Let's call Rory. He will have arrived by now." As in this sentence, we are talking about the present situation. Can't we use here, "Let's call Rory. He would have arrived by now."

Hello bridge23d,

In sentences like this we use will have when we consider the action/situation likely or sure, and we use would have when we consider it more unlikely. I think will have is the better choice here as the speaker would not call Rory if the speaker believed he had not arrived yet!



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Sir. I have a question for you. I have read that there are two tenses in English: past and present. (Under Grammar Reference Section - Present Tense)

The British Council has discussed Future continuous and perfect tense in this post. So how many tenses are there in English? Could you explain me?

Hi Aditya_teddy,

It's a good question. First, I should define what a tense is: it is a form of a verb that expresses time. For example, speak and spoke are the present tense and past tense of the verb speak.

Technically speaking, the future continuous and future perfect are not tenses, because they are not made by changing the form of the verb in the same way that speak changes to spoke in the past tense. Instead, they are made by adding auxiliary verbs (future continuous: will be speaking; future perfect: will have spoken), and the future meaning comes from those auxiliary verbs. That's why the explanation above does not refer to the future continuous and future perfect as "tenses".

However, in common and non-technical speaking, people do commonly say that the future continuous and future perfect are tenses - even though from a technical point of view, that term is incorrect.

I hope that helps to understand it.


The LearnEnglish Team

I think that either "He must have arrived." or "He might have arrived." are even more approptiate here, given the hint that the speaker might be quite sure about the possibility of Rory answering the call.

Submitted by MohamedMosta on Tue, 02/08/2022 - 23:55


Hello team.
Which sentence is correct?
She is working on a new project.
She has been working on a new project.
And please tell me the difference in meaning.

Hi AboWasel,

Both sentences are correct. In sentence 1 (present continuous), the time is now. It means that she's doing it now, at the present moment. In sentence 2 (present perfect continuous), the time is recently. She may or may not be doing it right now (i.e. the work may or may not continue to the present moment - both meanings are possible).

I hope that helps!


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you
Another question ,please. what is the difference in meaning in these 2 examples?
She was woking here for 3 months.
She had been working here for 3 months.

Hello AboWasel,

The second one refers to another point in time in the past. This point in time in the past was probably explained in the previous sentences, or will become clear in the sentences after this one.

The first one is more general in that it doesn't refer to another period of time; it focuses on that period of three months.

I'd suggest you have a look at our Past continuous and Past perfect pages.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team