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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 sunrisereham,

'In three years' time' is less common in informal contexts, but otherwise there's no real difference in meaning between the first two sentences you ask about.

The preposition 'in' isn't used before the names of days of the week in general; when referring to time, 'by' means 'not later than' or 'at or before' – you can see some more example sentences of it with this meaning in the Cambridge Dictionary.

As for your last questions, 'by the summer' is a bit different to 'in the summer', as it specifies that you'll have finished before (or perhaps at the beginning of) the summer, whereas 'in' means sometime during the summer months. 'at' is OK in the sentence you ask about since the phrase after it already refers to the end of that time period, but 'by' is probably more common in that kind of context, i.e. with the future perfect.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Can we say: Will you be seeing Lisa tomorrow?
Recall we do not use "see" with continuous tenses.
Would it be better to use simple tense in this case?

Thank you

Hello id347627,

When 'see' is used to describe what we do with our eyes then we generally do not use in in a continuous form. However, here 'see' means something different. It means here 'meet' and so it can be in a continuous form ('Will you be meeting...?').

There are other verbs which function in a similar way. For example, 'have' is not used generally in continuous forms when it refers to possession. However, 'have' can be used with other meanings such as 'take' ('He's having a shower') or drink ('They're having a coffee in the cafe').


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir
I wonder when we used futue perfect and future continuous we sure 100% that it will happen like I think astronauts will have landed on mars on the year 2020.
Don't phone grandma now she will be having dinner .
The last example do i'm sure that she having dinner so i told him don't phone

Hi Mema abdelhamid,

I wouldn't say it's 100% certain. You can speculate about things that seem unlikely. For example, it's fine to say 

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

Future perfect describes an event in the future which will be completed by another time in the future. It does not necessarily imply certainty. Future continuous describes an event which we expect to be in progress at a particular time, but also does not imply certainty. For example:

Don't phone grandma now because there's a chance she will be having dinner.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank alot sir

Hello, Sir could you please tell me what is the deference between
I'll be thinking of you when you go into hospital.
and I'll will think of you when you go into hospital.
and if i say I will be writing for you. that means it happen regularly.
Thank you, Sir

Hello sunrisereham,

A lot of these distinctions depend on the context, so it's hard to differentiate all examples.

I'll be thinking of you when you go into hospital  -  this means the person will do this repeatedly or continuously while the person is in hospital, not just once.

I'll will think of you when you go into hospital  -  this suggests that the person will think about them once, not repeatedly.

I will be writing to you  -  ('to', I think, not 'for') this really depends on the context. It could mean regularly (the most likely option), or it could mean that the action will be in progress at a certain time (less likely, but possible).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, Sir

Hello, Sir according to use the future continuous to talk about what we assume is happening at the moment.
Don’t phone grandma now, she’ll be having dinner.
The kids are very quiet. They’ll be doing something wrong, I know it!
what the difference if I say
she is having dinner
they are doing something wrong
And I have read this topic recently:
We use will (or won't) to indicate that we think a present situation is certain
You will know that John and Sheila are engaged. (= you already know)
If I say you know that John and Sheila are engaged is that correct too?
Thank you, Sir