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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


Hi Peter,
Thanks for answering, let's assume i say:
By 5.00 would be waiting for three hours!
would that be wrong. Because i understand that both of them are conveying the same message. if so is the case why all have future perfect tense at all.

Another thing, how much difference is created by the usage of "would" or "will". What is the main difference between the usage of both these words.

Hi sonakshi,

We use 'would' when the situation is seen as unlikely or entirely hypothetical, while 'will' suggests a likely or possible situation.

As I said in my earlier comment, will be verb-ing or would be verb-ing forms describe ongoing situations, while will have + verb3 or would have + verb3 describe situations which we are looking back on. In some contexts the only difference is emphasis and the speaker can choose which form best expresses what they want to say, but in other contexts only one is possible. For example, if you want to talk about a completed action then only the perfect form is possible:

If we manage to agree today then we'll have broken the record for the fastest negotiation ever!



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello britishcouncil.
Is there any reason why we use simple present in explaining future perfect.

Hello rayhaibara,

I'm afraid I'm not sure I understand your question. Could you perhaps provide an example to clarify?



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Sir
Could you tell me what this sentence means?

I'll be celebrating my mom's brithday tomorrow.

Does it mean I'm going to celebrate it the whole day tomorrow or does it express that I have a plan to celebrate my mom's birthday tomorrow (it doesn't matter what time I celebrate)?

Thank you Sir

Hello Risa warysha

It does mean you have a plan for tomorrow, but what else it exactly means is impossible to say for sure without knowing the precise context. 

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teachers, i would like to know which is the most informal way with the same meaning of the following sentence: if i had waited for further one hour i would have met his.Thanks in advance .

Hello rosario70

If I've understood what you want to say, I'd recommend 'If I had wait another house, I'd have met him.'

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hmm! I'm happy to learn more about future continuous and future perfect. I am used to translate directly my sentences from french to english and some, that sounds weird and no sense. But now, I know when I have to use these tenses during my talking.

What is the difference between the following sentence?

When will you be arriving?
When are you going to arrive?