You are here

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

Hi Via,

Good question! Be doesn't work here because be arrived is a passive structure (be + past participle). The passive doesn't make sense with arrived - we can't say, for example, Rory was arrived by (someone)

This sentence needs the future perfect. Although the time reference refers to the time up to the present (by now), not the time up to a future time, we also use will to show our beliefs about the present (see more examples here). That's why have is the answer here.

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Yes, it make sense. Thank you.

I have poor in garmmer

Hi Tshewang Rinzin,

Don't worry! Everyone here is here to learn and improve. If this page is too difficult, you can try lower level grammar here.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

hello
could you please explain the differences between in ten years' time vs in the next ten years?
which one is the exact time in the future?
thanks

Hello samira_kitten,

In ten years' time denotes a precise time in the future: ten years from now (the moment of speaking).

In the next ten years is less precise. It means any time within the next ten years, so it could be in an hour or in nine years and eleven months.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

The show has lost traction with views and will not be returning for another season.

Could I say "will not return?

Thanks so much.

I would like to ask why the future continuous tense is used in the following sentence. Could I use the simple future tense instead?

"Some very attractive properties will be coming onto the market next month."

Hello AsahiYo20,

The future continuous is used here to express the speaker's expectation. It is a prediction about the future based upon what the speaker knows, similar to going to.

While going to would express a future based upon present evidence, the future continuous expresses an expectation based upon the speaker's knowledge and experience.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher,

Thank you for your detailed reply! I would like to ask a number of follow-up questions

1. According to a grammar book I have read, "will" is used for predictions that are talking about how our opinions/experience, while "be going to" is more about predictions on the basis of present evidence. Could I simply say the distinction is one between subjective evidence (for "will") and objective evidence (for "be going to")?

2. You said the future continuous expresses an expectation based upon the speaker's knowledge and experience. Does that mean the future continuous tense has the meaning as the simple future tense when it comes to prediction, and that I could use the latter in the sentence I have quoted?

3. I have a feeling that in the case of prediction, the degree of conviction conveyed by the simple future tense is higher than the future continuous tense. Is it a correct distinction?

Pages