Do you know when to use the future continuous (e.g. I'll be studying) and future perfect (e.g. I'll have studied)?

The future continuous (will be + ‘ing’ form) and the future perfect (will have + past participle) tenses are used to talk about events in the future.

Future continuous

  • Don’t ring at 8 o’clock. I’ll be watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
  • This time tomorrow we’ll be sitting on the beach. I can’t wait!

We use the future continuous to talk about something that will be in progress at or around a time in the future.

  • Don’t phone grandma now, she’ll be having dinner.
  • The kids are very quiet. They’ll be doing something wrong, I know it!

These sentences are not about the future but we can use the future continuous to talk about what we assume is happening at the moment.

Future Perfect

  • Do you think you will have finished it by next Thursday?
  • In 5 years time I’ll have finished university and I’ll be able to earn some money at last.

We use the future perfect to say that something will be finished by a particular time in the future.

We often use the future perfect with ‘by’ or ‘in

  • I think astronauts will have landed on Mars by the year 2020.
  • I’ll have finished in an hour and then you can use the computer.

By’ means ‘not later than a particular time’ and ‘in’ means 'within a period of time’. We don’t know exactly when something will finish.

  • I promise I’ll have done all the work by next Saturday.

We don’t know exactly when he will finish the work – maybe Thursday, maybe Friday – but definitely before Saturday. 


Nivel de idioma

Upper intermediate: B2


Hello blessnick,

'I have graduated' would describe your present situation with reference to a past action or event.

'I will have graduated' describes a future situation. We use 'will have' when an action occurs in the future before another event or time further in the future. Thus, this sentence means means that the graduation will take place in the future before two years. It could be in two years, in a year and a half, in a year - all that we know is that before two years pass it will have happened.

You can read more about this form on this page.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, thank you for the article. It's very useful but I still have a question.
What is the difference btwn Future Perfect and Future Simple? For example, what's the difference between 'I'll do it by Friday' and 'I'll have done it by Friday'? Is it just the speaker's level of certainty that the action is to happen? i.e. is it just a prediction in the first sentence and a belief in the second one?
Thank you in advance

Hello omiro,

It's not a difference of certainty, it's more of a different perspective. The future perfect emphasises the completion, whereas 'will' does not. In most situations, there is no strong need to use the future perfect, but you can use it if you want to emphasise completion before a certain point in time.

I hope that helps you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Now I see. Thank you!

what the difference between future continuous and going to be
Don’t ring at 8 o’clock. I’ll be watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
Don’t ring at 8 o’clock. I'm going to be watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
thank you.

Hello Rezaya,

In this case, there is no real difference in meaning between them. In general, 'be going to' is used to speak about a plan or intention and then the continuous infinitive ('be watching') indicates an action in progress. The future continuous has different uses, but probably the main one is to speak about a future event in progress, which is the case here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk, sorry to bother you again, but I have a question about the following sentences:
Can you say this:

1 I wish that taxi came soon?
2. I wish you stopped singing?

or should it be said like this:

1 I wish that taxi would come soon?
2. I wish you would stop singing?

Thanks again for all of your help.

Best wishes

Hi Kirk, I hope you are well. I have another question.

Can you tell me the direct and indirect objects in these sentences are as I have stated at the end of each sentence: DO=direct object, IDO= indirect object

1. You should always give a tip to your waiter after a meal. (tip DO & waiter IDO)
2. It's traditional to send your mother a bunch of flowers on Mother's day. (your mother IDO & flowers DO)
3. It's usual for people to offer a seat on the bus to old people. (a seat DO & old people IDO)
4. When guests come to my house for dinner, I like them to bring me a gift. (my house IDO & dinner DO, them DO, me IDO, gift DO)
5. It's best to tell someone the truth if you don't like the food they've cooked. (someone IDO, the truth DO, the food DO, what is they have cooked-a predicate?)
6. It's bad manners to owe money to people who are not in your family. (money DO & people IDO, your family DO)

Let me know if my thoughts are correct. I appreciate all of your help.

Best wishes

Hello Alyson,

In most English grammars, a distinction is made between an indirect object and a prepositional complement, which is a prepositional phrase (usually starting with 'to') that acts as an indirect object. (For an example of this, see this Cambridge Dictionary page.) But if we loosely regard these prepositional complements as indirect objects (that is their function, after all), then you are correct about sentences 1, 2 and 3.

You're also right about 'me' and 'a gift' in sentence 4, but 'to my house' and 'for dinner' are prepositional phrases. Similarly, in sentence 5 you're right about 'someone', 'the truth' and 'the food', but 'that they have cooked' is a relative clause. Finally, in 6 you're right about the first two, but 'your family' is part of the prepositional phrase 'in your family'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Alyson,

The second pair of sentences are the correct one. When we use 'wish' to talk about our desire for something or someone to act differently, we use 'would'. In 1, it's the taxi that we wish would behave differently and in 2 it's 'you'. We can also use this structure to refer to the weather ('I wish it would stop raining'), which can seem a bit strange as we are ascribing volition to a natural force, but that's the way we use this structure!

You can read a bit more about the different forms that come after 'wish' on the Cambridge Dictionary's 'wish' page if you'd like an overview of the different possibilities.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team