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Future continuous and future perfect

Do you know how to use phrases like I'll be studying or I'll have finished?

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

Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

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

Dear Team,
1) I am changing my internet supplier tonight so I might not get your email until tomorrow.

2) I will be changing my internet supplier tonight so I might not get your email until tomorrow.

Which Tense is correct? And why?

Hello DaniWeebKage,

Both are correct. We use the present continuous to speak about arranged future plans (such as appointments) and the future continuous can be used to speak about what will be happening at a point of time in the future.

In the situation that I suppose you are imagining with these sentences, I can't think of any reason for using one versus the other. But in other situations, you might say 'I'm changing my ISP tonight' to say, for example, that you can't go to the cinema with someone. This is a context where you're speaking of scheduling, i.e. future arrangements.

You might say 'I'll be changing my ISP tonight' when, for example, someone comments on what they'll be doing tonight, e.g. watching an important rugby match.

But this is not to say that the other response would be impossible in these situations.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, referring to your example above for future continuous tense, your article mentioned "When you come out of school tomorrow, I'll be boarding a plane" as an example of the use of the future continuous tense for actions that will be in progress at a specific time in the future.

Am I right to say that "When you come out of school" refers to a future action which serves as a time marker (i.e. a specific time in the future), and "I'll be boarding a plane" refers to a longer action in the future which will be in progress at a specific future time represented by the action of "coming out of school" (so this means that the longer action of boarding the plane started anytime before the action of "coming out of school occurred", and continued after the action of "coming out of school" occurred). Is my understanding correct?

Thanks.

Hello Tim,

That's correct and is a good summary. Well done!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello team. Could you please tell me which form is correct? Why?
1- In five years' time, many projects will be carried out.
2- In five years' time, many projects will have been carried out.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

In 1, the projects won't necessarily be finished in five years' time. In 2, the projects will have already been finished by then.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir,

I am wondering the difference between the Future continues and the P continues with going to. for example
I am going to buy a new car by next month or I will be buying a new car by next month.

if I ma not wrong we use both "going to and Future Continues" to talk about future plans so, my question is what is the difference between the two tenses and which one we use to where?

Thanks in advance.

Hi Maahir,

Both going to and the future continuous show plans, but the future continuous shows a higher degree of certainty. If you say I will be buying a new car, it shows that you are very sure that this will actually happen. If you say I am going to buy a new car, it doesn't show such certainty. Buying a new car may be just your dream or intention.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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