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)

Hi LitteBlueGreat,

I see what you mean. This sentence means that the meeting starts at 6 o'clock. It's a different meaning - the future continuous can also show a plan, arrangement or intention. See meaning number 6 on this page:
https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/english-grammar-referen…

In the sentence about studying medicine, I guess it is possible to understand it with the same meaning - that the studying begins in three years' time (not before then). But it is ambiguous, and I think will be more likely understood as the before/after meaning, so if the speaker wanted to show that the starting time was in exactly three years, the speaker would probably clarify that using a different choice of words, e.g. "In three years' time, I'll be starting my studies".

I hope that helps.

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

But it is ambiguous, and I think will be more likely understood "as the before/after meaning,"

Thanks Sir but could you explain more about a phrase I put punctuation marks above

Hi LitteBlueGreat,

Yes, sure. I mean that for this sentence ("In three years' time, I'll be studying medicine."), I expect most people will understand it to have the meaning I explained in my first comment - the studying will be in progress at that time (i.e. the person will have started studying before that time, and will continue studying after it).

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 02:53

Permalink
Hello, thank you for the lesson. Excuse me, I have a couple of questions. They are about these 2 sentences: -You can visit us during the first week of July. I won't be working then. What does "then" mean in that sentence? Is it related to the future continuous tense? - The guests are coming at 8 p.m. I'll have finished cooking by then. What does "by then" mean in that sentence? Is it related to the future perfect tense? Thank you very much

Hi GiulianaAndy,

In these sentences, then means 'that time' or 'at that time'. It refers to a time that was mentioned earlier in the conversation ('the first week of July' / '8 p.m.'). So, the speaker doesn't need to repeat that information.

No, it's not directly required by these particular tenses. But more generally, these tenses are often used with references to a specific future time (using then or other words) to make their meaning clear.

Have a look at this Cambridge Dictionary page for more examples. I hope it helps!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

an easily understood explanation but I hope you give me other explanations again, here :

Try to call before 8 o'clock. After that, we'll be watching the match.

So, What does "That" in "After That" refer to?

A. Activity of calling itself
B. The time after 8 o'clock

Thanks

Hi LitteBlueGreat,

It probably refers to A, the call. To refer to a time, the reference word is normally 'then' --> After then, we'll be watching the match.

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team