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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


Hello Rezaya,

In this case, there is no real difference in meaning between them. In general, 'be going to' is used to speak about a plan or intention and then the continuous infinitive ('be watching') indicates an action in progress. The future continuous has different uses, but probably the main one is to speak about a future event in progress, which is the case here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Alyson,

In most English grammars, a distinction is made between an indirect object and a prepositional complement, which is a prepositional phrase (usually starting with 'to') that acts as an indirect object. (For an example of this, see this Cambridge Dictionary page.) But if we loosely regard these prepositional complements as indirect objects (that is their function, after all), then you are correct about sentences 1, 2 and 3.

You're also right about 'me' and 'a gift' in sentence 4, but 'to my house' and 'for dinner' are prepositional phrases. Similarly, in sentence 5 you're right about 'someone', 'the truth' and 'the food', but 'that they have cooked' is a relative clause. Finally, in 6 you're right about the first two, but 'your family' is part of the prepositional phrase 'in your family'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Alyson,

The second pair of sentences are the correct one. When we use 'wish' to talk about our desire for something or someone to act differently, we use 'would'. In 1, it's the taxi that we wish would behave differently and in 2 it's 'you'. We can also use this structure to refer to the weather ('I wish it would stop raining'), which can seem a bit strange as we are ascribing volition to a natural force, but that's the way we use this structure!

You can read a bit more about the different forms that come after 'wish' on the Cambridge Dictionary's 'wish' page if you'd like an overview of the different possibilities.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again Alyson,

Both sentences are correct, though they mean different things. If it's Monday at 18:45 when you say this, 1 means that your friend's driving test and your drink together will be finished before 18:45 on Tuesday. 2 means that the driving test is finished, but not the drink. It's not clear exactly when the drink will be, but it sounds as if it might be at 18:45 or soon after.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Question: He woke up late this morning, so he______ late for work. A) have been. B) being. C) will be. D) will have been. I am a bit confused whether to use option c or d. Can you help me finding the best suitable answer?

Hello Sujit Maji,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers for question from elsewhere (other sites, homework or tests). This would not be fair to other teachers and, besides, we would end up having to answers hundreds of such questions!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M ,
I am sorry. But I wanna be sure a bit. What's suitable for the question concerned- simple future or future perfect? It's really been as dark as night to me. If you answer this question, I will be grateful to you. If the rules are hard and fast , so it's OK. Thank you.
With regards,
Sujit Maji ( a keen follower of your website)

Hello Sujit Maji,

I'm afraid the answer here depends upon the context. Both 'will be' and 'will have been' are possible, but there is difference in meaning.

He woke up late this morning, so he will be late for work.

We would use 'will be' when the person has not yet got to work and we are making a prediction about the future.


He woke up late this morning, so he will have been late for work.

We would use 'will have been' if the person is now at work and we are speculating about what time they arrived, and whether or not they were on time. This use of 'will' is speculating about an event which has already happened, but about which we are not certain.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hey Kirk,
Here mingle refers 'in relationship'. I was in a conversation with my friends, where, they were talking about relationships. Statement was ' being a single is so bore'. And my statement was the same that I mentioned above. Which I found wrong, so I wanted to recheck upon the same.
Thank you in advance


Hello again Suffi sharma,

I'm not familiar with that use of 'mingle', but that could be because it's slang or from another variety of English. If you've seen or heard it used similarly in several other contexts, then it might be acceptable in similar contexts. Unless it's relatively new slang, I wouldn't say most speakers of British or American English would completely understand it, either.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team