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 again Sokhom,

I would strongly recommend 'going to be completed' instead of 'is being completed' if you're talking about a plan because most people would use 'going to' and 'is being' would sound odd. Also, we don't usually use a continuous form when speaking about a deadline, i.e. a point in time that marks a before and an after.

I suppose you could use 'will be being completed' for a prediction, but, like with 1, it sounds very unnatural to me in combination with the prepositional phrase beginning with 'by'. 'By' indicates a line in time, so to speak -- i.e. a time before which it's not completed and a time after which it is completed. It's very, very strange to use a continuous form in such a situation. I'd recommend 'is going to be completed' or 'will be completed' for a prediction here.

Hope that helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user aymanme2

Submitted by aymanme2 on Fri, 20/05/2022 - 09:43

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Hi, sirs.
I'd like to know your opinion concerning this question:
In ten years' time, electric cars ___ widely used.
1] will be
2] will have been

I see 'will have been' is OK for two reasons:
A] using 'in ten years' time
B] the use of 'widely' as I think it implies that people already started using those cars and those cars will develop until they have been widely used.

Am I right?

Hi aymanme2,

Actually, I would choose option 1. Option 2 is possible, but it's less likely than option 1 because it suggests completeness of the action, i.e., 'being widely used' is complete and it is no longer the situation. This seems unlikely in the context, since there is no apparent reason why they would become widely used and then stop being widely used. For your meaning in reason B, using the verb "become" would work --> "will have become".

I hope that helps!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot, sir.
Yet, I'd like to check my understanding. You mean we choose 'will be' because it refers to an ongoing action: using electric cars is not something people would stop doing in the future, right?
When we say 'will have been widely used', this means that using those cars will stop at the period mentioned, which is unlikely.
Is that what you mean, sir?

Hi aymanme2,

Yes, right! To be precise, 'will have been widely used' means that the cars will stop being widely used sometime before the period mentioned, not in that exact period.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Fri, 15/04/2022 - 16:32

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Hello Team. I think both choices in the next sentence are correct, right? Why
- By the end of next year, the road to my town (will have been paved - will be paved).
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

You are right -- both answers are correct.

They both refer to a paved road in the future. Why exactly someone would choose to use one or the other depends a lot on their intentions and the context, but, for example, 'will have been paved' could suggest the speaker is thinking of different sorts of works that will be done in the town between now and next year, and the road is one of the projects on that list.

The other sentence is more general; it just reports the state of the road in the future, after it has been paved.

Hope that helps.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Teresa R. on Wed, 02/03/2022 - 16:17

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Hello team.
My question is: between future continuous and present continuous, what is the correct tense to talk about future arrangements? For example, in these sentences:
a)Mary is starting school next week.
b)Mary will be starting school next week.
Which is the correct one?
I know it depends on the context, but I would like to be explained what are the different nuances of meaning between these tenses. Thank you.