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 Shruti Aurora,

Both forms are correct and the meaning is the same.  However, remember that 'not any' is used with uncountable nouns or plural countable nouns, but not with singular countable nouns.  'Alibi' is a countable noun, therefore we would not say '*He doesn't have any alibi' but rather 'He doesn't have an alibi'.  We can use 'no' with singular countable nouns but it sounds quite formal, so 'He hasn't got a chair' is much more common than 'He has no chair'.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter , Thank you sir.... it will help me.... thanks.. ---- Shruti

Submitted by Migs on Sat, 01/03/2014 - 23:32

Can anyone help me make these into present tense. 1. In ancient Rome, there lived a poor slave named Androcles. His cruel master made him work from daybreak until long past nightfall. Androcles had very little time to rest and very little to eat. One day, he decided to run away from his harsh master, eventhough he would be breaking the law. 2. In the dark of night, Amdrocles got up from the miserable heap of straw and rags that served as his bed. Crouching low so he was no taller than the bushes that dotted the fields, the young slave moved swiftly away from his master's land. 3. Clouds covered the moon that night, and Androcles crossed the open fields unseen. It was only when he came to the wild woods that Androcles dared to stand up tall. 4. Androcles found a sheltered place at the foot of a tall tree. There lay himself down on a bed of pine needles and fell fast asleep. 5. When Androcles awoke, he hiked deeper into the woods so he wouldn't be found by his master. There he looked for water and simething to eat. But other than a few berries, there was no food to be found. 6. Day after day, Androcles searched for food. And day after day, he went hungry. Androcles grew so weary and weak that at last he was afraid he wouldn't live through the night. He had just enough strenght to creep up to the mouth of a cave that he had passed many times. Androcles crawled into the cave and fell into deep sleep. Thank you
Hello Mig, it's easy to change the text into present tense.Just use I Form of verb instead of II. For example: ...there lives a poor slave .... his master makes him.... he has little time to rest...he decides to run away .... and so on. I hope this will help you.

Submitted by sunita das on Thu, 27/02/2014 - 17:48

pls help me i do not understand been verb? i have been working for two hours? has she been in Canada?

Hello sunita das,

'Been' is the third form (past participle) of 'be' and is often used as an auxiliary verb (also called helper verbs) in a number of different tenses and verb forms.  For example, your first sentence ('I have been working for two hours') is an example of a present perfect continuous form and your second sentence ('Has she been to Canada') is a present perfect simple sentence.  These forms are constructed from several elements, including 'been' and it's best not to consider the meaning of the individual elements, but to focus on the meaning and use of the tense or verb form as a whole.

You can find more about present perfect forms here and more about continuous forms here.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by cadbury555 on Thu, 27/02/2014 - 03:23

Hi, I need some help with these; If there is spillage, do not use the broom until the spill "is cleaned." spill is cleaned or has been cleaned? Another example would be; Make sure the equipment "has dried/is dry/is dried" after cleaning. Thank you.

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 27/02/2014 - 07:26

In reply to by cadbury555


Hi cadbury555,

In the first case you mention, I, like you, think that has been cleaned is more precise - it makes it clear that the spillage should no longer be present before the broom is used. Sometimes in subordinate clauses, verb tenses are simplified if the time is already clear from the form of the main verb. In this case, the time is not all that clear from the main verb, but it seems that whoever wrote this simplified the verb in the subordinate clause anyway. This sometimes happens, as the meaning is fairly evident, but has been cleaned would be more clear.

The second case is similar in some ways, though is dry and is dried are different contructions because they are not verbs but rather a verb (is) plus an adjective (dry or dried). As you can see in the dictionary, dried is normally used to refer to flowers or fruit and dry is used in the more general sense. Thus is dried in this sentence is perhaps strictly speaking not correct, but given the context, the meaning is clear.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sunita das on Wed, 26/02/2014 - 17:03

thank you very much. daily i read a lot.

Submitted by Shruti Aurora on Tue, 25/02/2014 - 02:37

What is the actual meaning of these two sentences :---- "I don't do that" &&& "I won't do that" . now as far as I know , both these sentences are grammatically correct . but I have some confusion regarding the actual meaning of these two sentences .What is the difference of meaning ? please help me , I'm eagerly waiting for the answer . --- Shruti Aurora

Hello Shruti,

Yes, they are both grammatically correct. Their exact meaning depends on context. The first one is often used to speak about daily habits, whereas the second one could be used, for example, to make a promise not to do something. I'd suggest that you look at our pages on the present simple and will and would for detailed explanations and examples of both forms.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zhulin233 on Sat, 14/12/2013 - 07:59


Hi there! I want to ask about the prepositional phrase " at first". At is a preposition, so first is a noun or a pronoun? 

Hi zhulin233,

You are correct that 'at first' is a prepositional phrase, and as such is made up of a preposition and its object, which is a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun.  The potential source of confusion here is that 'first' is usually thought of as an adjective.  However, 'first' can be many parts of speech, including a noun.  For example:

I've never done that before so it was a first for me!

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

By the way, you can find more information on prepositional phrases here:


Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sina.koohbour on Wed, 11/12/2013 - 20:26



Could you please explain the difference between the following sentences ? Thank you very much.

1) I think astronauts will land on Mars by the year 2020.

2) I think astronauts will have landed on Mars by the year 2020.

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 14:45

In reply to by sina.koohbour


Hi sina.koohbour,

Both sentences make the same prediction. The difference is that the verb form in the second one more specifically indicates that the action of landing on Mars will already be complete by 2020. The first sentence also indicates this idea with the preposition by, but the verb form is a bit less specific.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Overcomer on Thu, 10/10/2013 - 05:50

Although I am at ease with "Future perfect" and "Future continuous," I am not very sure about "Future perfect continuous" sentences. Would you please explain that?
Hello Overcomer, An example of a future perfect continuous sentence would be: 'He will have been working on that for two weeks by the weekend.' We can contrast this with the simple form: 'He will have worked on that for two weeks by the weekend.' In this example, as is often the case with continuous forms, the difference is a small one and is a question of emphasis rather than fact. In the continuous example we are emphasising the activity (the process) rather than the action or achievement; in the simple example we are looking at the opposite. In some continuous/simple examples there is a clearer distinction, such as actions which are finished or not finished. For example: I will have read the book by Tuesday. [it will be finished] I will have been reading the book for a week by Tuesday. [it's won't be finished then] However, as we are talking about a form with future meaning these are rather less frequent (the future being more uncertain, by its nature). You can find more on the continuous aspect here [ https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar/continuous-aspect ] and more on the perfective aspect here [ https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar/perfective-aspect ]. I hope that helps to clarify it for you. Best wishes, Peter The LearnEnglish Team
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