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Future continuous and future perfect

Do you know how to say what you will be doing or will have done at a specific time in the future?

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 ihsan_qwerty,

Both forms are possible here, but there is a difference in meaning.

If we say '...she's having dinner' then we are stating a fact which we know is true.

If we say '...she'll be having dinner' then we are speculating; we expect that this is true but we do not know for sure.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

You are GOD of ENGLISH.........thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks

We will be having dinner at a nice restaurant on Saturday, but we have't booked a table yet.
We are going to have dinner at a nice restaurant on Saturday, but we have't booked a table yet.
Why is the fisrt one wrong

On Sunday at 8 o'clock I am going to be meeting my friend.
On Sunday at 8 o'clock I am meeting my friend.
is the fisrt one wrong?

Hi andreus1999,

The first one is strange because when we use the future continuous, it's as if we're imagining the experience of having dinner at the restaurant or we're thinking about how the event happens, but then the second part of the sentence is talking about a plan. The second version of the sentence, which uses 'going to' to talk about a plan, makes more sense.

As for the second pair of sentences, both could be correct. It really depends on the situation you use them in and what you mean.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, please help me to understand which one is right.
Are you doing anything interesting this weekend?
or Will you be doing anything interesting this weekend?

I am totally confused to distinguish between present continuous in future and future continuous. :) Thank you!

Are you doing anything interesting this weekend? - you ask about arrangements, already planned activities. The probable answers will be:
- Yes, I'm going to the beach.
- No I still haven't planned anything yet.

Will you be doing anything interesting this weekend? - you ask about intentions, what a person is willing to do. You can form your question this way and the meaning will stay the same 'Do you want to do anything interesting this weekend'?
So, use present continuous when you ask about arrangements
and
future continuous when you ask about intentions.
Is my explanation useful or do you need further clarification on the subject?

Hello bellataylor,

Both of these are possible.

The first (are you doing...) is a question about arrangements and things which are already decided.

The second (will you be doing...) is a general question which could refer to plans, intentions or just hopes.

The difference in this context is tiny. It is really only about the kind of answers the speaker expects, and you can use them interchangeably.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

How can I send you an attachment with my question?
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

There is no facility for sending attachments. We generally answer questions relating to our own material, not to materials (tests or other material) from elsewhere so if your question relates to something like that then I'm afraid it is outside of out area in any case.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Could you help me please?
Are both of these forms correct or only one? If so, what is the difference in meaning between them: Experts think that Cairo (will grow - will have grown) by more than half a million people next year.
thank you

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