'will have' and 'would have'

Level: intermediate

We use will have when we are looking back from a point in time in the future:

By the end of the decade, scientists will have discovered a cure for influenza.
I will phone at six o'clock. He will have got home by then.

or looking back from the present:

Look at the time. The match will have started.
It's half past five. Dad will have finished work by now.

We use would have as the past tense form of will have:

I phoned at six o'clock. I knew he would have got home by then.
It was half past five. Dad would have finished work.

We also use would have in conditionals to talk about something that did not happen in the past:

If it had been a little warmer, we would have gone for a swim.
(but it was cold so we didn't go for a swim)

He would have been very angry if he had seen you.
(but he didn't see you so he wasn't angry)

will have and would have 1


will have and would have 2


Average: 4.2 (21 votes)
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Submitted by Howard Manzi on Wed, 18/01/2023 - 12:55


Hi, I would like to form questions with "will have", and "would have".
- Will you have finished dinner by 10? (Pretty straightforward)
- Would you have finished your homework by 10? ( Have doubts)
Is the second statement considered more polite in relation to the first? What is the difference? Thanks.

Hi Howard Manzi,

Yes, right. The "will you have" question sounds like a simple factual inquiry. The "would you have" question is less direct, which could reflect more doubt or more politeness, as you mentioned.


The LearnEnglish Team