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

Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2

Hello Shali,

No, that is not correct. It would be correct if it were without 'that':

You don't need to know what am i doing.

I have one request for you: please try to post questions on relevant pages. This page is about future continuous and future perfect, and your question is not about those forms. Posting questions on relevant pages means the questions and answers can be seen by people learning about those issues and are therefore more useful.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Could you please tell me what's the correct option in this question? and let me know its reason. David: When are you going to the club, do you know? (Nick goes to the club every Friday) Nick: I (will have gone / will be going / will have been) there next Friday. Thanks a lot.

Hello F.Hasani,

The middle option ('will be going') is the one that makes most sense to me, because the two future perfect forms don't seem to have anything to do with the idea of completion, though they are possibly correct. What sort of exercise is this? Perhaps the teacher who gave you this exercise can explain it better. 

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Please tell me the difference between 1.I promise I’ll have done all the work by next Saturday. And 2.I promise I’ll do all the work by next Saturday. Thank you sir.

Hello deepuips,

In this context there is no difference in meaning. The 'will have' form, sometimes called 'future perfect', tells us that an action will be completed before a certain time. The 'will' form tells us than an action will take place in the future, but not necessarily that it will be completed.

I will eat dinner by three o'clock. - I will start before three but may not finish until after three.

I will have eaten dinner by three o'clock. - My dinner will be finished before three.

In your context 'do the work' already means 'complete the work', so there is no difference in meaning.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter M sir.I have understood what you have said.On that basis.Please look at this If I were to apple the same in past then would these two sentence also mean the same 1.I received the book by three o'clock. 2.I had received the book by three o'clock. Do the above two mean the same sir? If not what is the difference between the two?Please explain to me in simple terms.You, I think, have explained to me so very well, that I feel indebted to you. Thanking you, Best wishes, Deepuips

Hello Deepuips,

The forms here are past simple and past perfect. Past simple ('I received...') is used to describe a completed action in the past. Past perfect ('I had received...') is also used to describe a completed action in the past, but one which has some relation to another, later, action also in the past. This means that the meaning, as such, is not necessarily different, but that we would use the past perfect when there is another action to act as a point of reference.

In other words, if we are simply talking about getting the book then the first sentence is sufficient and correct. If we are also going to talk about another even, after getting the book, to which our getting the book is relevant in some way, then the second sentence would be used. For example:

He arrived at three thirty, but as I had received the book by three o'clock that gave me time to familiarise myself with its contents.

As you can see, context is crucial here. All perfective forms relate an action to another time and/or another action, which is why context is so important.

For more information about the past perfect look here.

For more information about past forms look here.

For more information about perfective forms look here.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter M sir.I sincerely feel you are the best. Sir as you said about past perfect that simple future that the action may get completed or not, similarly can I infer the same about the simple past? I mean, when we say 1.I received the book by three o'clock. Can it also mean that I may have received at three o'clock? And 2.I had received the book by three o'clock.Can I restrict it to mean that I received it surely before three o'clock? I mean additionally from the Simple Past and Past Perfect distinction can the above also be one of the differences like we have in the case of Simple Future and Future Perfect? Thank you nice Peter M sir. Best wishes.

Hello deepuips,

The distinction is not that one was before three o'clock and one may have been before or at three o'clock; if we say 'by three o'clock then we mean that when that time came we already had it. The distinction is whether we are just describing one event (in which case we use the past simple) or whether we wish to relate one even to a later one in some way (the past perfect). Take a look at my examples in the last answer - they should show this distinction.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I was studying today's newspaper and this appeared.I am asking it as it is related to what we are discussing How did the metals get there? Metals are used in practically every product we use. Even detergents and shampoos have traces of them. Nanoparticles are used to limit body odour in socks, for instance. A lot of this is absorbed by the body and discarded as waste, which enters the sewage system and treatment plants. So I could have been a millionaire by now? Since the idea isn’t to sift through individual toilet refuse, no, you would still probably be where you are now. To actually mine the sewage, wastewater is treated through physical, biological and chemical processes, resulting in treated water and biosolids. The biosolids, says US researchers, may be as good as a gold mine. Sir is the usage ofI could have a been millionaire by now, correct? If yes, the how does it differ from I could be a millionaire by now? Please explain to me. Thank you.

Hello deepuips,

'Could have been' refers to a possible but unreal outcome in the past - becoming a millionaire before the moment of speaking. 'Could be' would refer to a possible situation now - being a millionaire at the moment of speaking. One looks at something which happended before speaking and the other looks at a state at the moment of speaking.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Thank you sir. So sir grammatically Both are right.So what you mean to say is 1.I could be a millionaire by now means I could be a millionaire now.Am I right?Or should I say I could be millionaire now and not use by?I feel the usage of by in present tense seems a bit wrong. Please help me sir.

Hello deepuips,

It's not unusual to hear both 'could be... by now' and 'could have been... by now'. As I said in my earlier reply, one focuses on something before the time of speaking, whereas the other focuses on a state at the time of speaking. For example:

The dinner might have been cooked by now. [it might be finished any time before the present - let's see if we can eat]

The dinner might be cooked by now. [we'd better check the oven because if we leave it too long it might burn]

Remember that language is highly context-dependent; in order to understand it's use you need to think about it in a concrete situation.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher , any recommendation to improve my grammar and writing ? I stopped at simple present , simple past and continuous tense..certain grammar I'm quite confused . for example , why u say/said that ? Especial how to ask questions. Please advice thanks

Hi tclian,

There's some advice on our Help page that might be useful for you, and I'd also suggest you try one of the sections in Listen & Watch. For example, when you work through the Elementary Podcasts, you work on your listening comprehension, grammar and vocabulary all at once, and most people find it more interesting that working through grammar pages alone.

I'm afraid I don't understand your question about 'say/said' - could you please rephrase it?

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

This site seems to be very helpful. I really appreciate. Thanks to you all for your support
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
hi While driving through France, we stopped to visit a famous vineyard. is above stated sentence is a past continous tense. T&R ASHISH

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

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!

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

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)
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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