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

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Hello mikel,

Both at and by are possible here.

In both sentences you are looking back and speculating about a past event.

If you say at then you are suggesting that the class began at 7.30 and are looking back from a later point (7.45, 8.00 etc).

If you say by then you are saying that the class started before this time, but you do not know exactly when.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sokhom on Thu, 15/10/2020 - 18:39

Hello, Sir I was wondering if the sentences are correct: '- This building will have been finishing next month.' '- This building will have finished by next month.' Thank you.
Profile picture for user Jonathan R

Submitted by Jonathan R on Fri, 16/10/2020 - 04:04

In reply to by Sokhom


Hi Sokhom,

No, we need to change to This building will have been finished by next month. It's the passive voice in the future perfect (will have been + past participle).

It needs the passive because the verb finish refers to 'building work', which needs either a personal subject (e.g. The builders will have finished the building by next month) or to be in the passive (e.g. This building will have been finished).

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Via on Thu, 15/10/2020 - 04:24

Hello, I'm confused about how to use "be" and "have". In grammar test 2: 7. Let's call Rory. He'll be arrived by now. (This is my answer but it's incorrect.) Why can't I use the word "be" in the previous sentence? Thanks a lot
Profile picture for user Jonathan R

Submitted by Jonathan R on Sun, 18/10/2020 - 05:12

In reply to by Via


Hi Via,

Good question! Be doesn't work here because be arrived is a passive structure (be + past participle). The passive doesn't make sense with arrived - we can't say, for example, Rory was arrived by (someone)

This sentence needs the future perfect. Although the time reference refers to the time up to the present (by now), not the time up to a future time, we also use will to show our beliefs about the present (see more examples here). That's why have is the answer here.

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Via on Sun, 18/10/2020 - 22:29

In reply to by Jonathan R

Yes, it make sense. Thank you.

Submitted by Tshewang Rinzin on Tue, 06/10/2020 - 02:21

I have poor in garmmer

Hi Tshewang Rinzin,

Don't worry! Everyone here is here to learn and improve. If this page is too difficult, you can try lower level grammar here.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by samira_kitten on Thu, 01/10/2020 - 11:18

hello could you please explain the differences between in ten years' time vs in the next ten years? which one is the exact time in the future? thanks
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Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 02/10/2020 - 08:04

In reply to by samira_kitten


Hello samira_kitten,

In ten years' time denotes a precise time in the future: ten years from now (the moment of speaking).

In the next ten years is less precise. It means any time within the next ten years, so it could be in an hour or in nine years and eleven months.



The LearnEnglish Team