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


Hello Lovely_Indeed

You're right -- 'I'm not coming' is also a possible correct form here, though of course it doesn't fit in the gap. In fact, in some of the other sentences other forms are also possible, but the gaps limit the answers you can write.

It's a difficult to explain the difference between 'I won't be coming' and 'I'm not coming' without knowing the precise context, but in general it's a matter of how the speaker views the time she is talking about. 'I'm not coming' is a simple statement of a plan, but 'I won't be coming' can imply, for example, that the speaker is thinking of how she's going to be sitting in a meeting at the time she had planned to go to a party. In other words, she's thinking of actions in progress at a specific time later that evening. 

So both sentences communicate the basic idea that she's not going, but using the future continuous form can communicate subtle ideas as well.

Hope this helps.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Which form is correct in the following sentence, please? Why
- By 2025, solar heating (will be used - will have been used ) in home and industry.
Thank you

Hello Ahmed Imam,

I think will be used is the most likely option here. Will have been used would suggest that its use had ended, unless you add a duration: will have been used for over twenty years.



The LearnEnglish Team


I would like to know if this sentence contains a will progressive (future continuous), if so could you explain why the form in question is used.

Thank you.

Police will be watching you when N.J. parks, golf courses reopen Saturday

Hello NinaZ,

Will be watching describes an action in progress rather than a single complete action – presumably, the police will be watching while people play their games to ensure that they follow the rules.



The LearnEnglish Team


I would like to know if this sentence contains a will perfect (future perfect), if so could you explain why the form in question is used.

Thank you.

His amateurish dud of a bomb will have worked after all.

Hello NinaZ,

It's hard to say for sure without knowing the context, but I would expect that the speaker is making a prediction about something in the future that will tell them that the bomb has exploded.

For example, the speaker might say something like this:

If we see a big cloud of smoke then his amateurish dud of a bomb will have...

The speaker is looking back from a point in the future (seeing the cloud of smoke) and supposing what happened before that (the bomb going off).



The LearnEnglish Team

Can you explain future continuous's 2nd point in more detail?

Hello itspb008,

Continuous forms often suggest an action has a temporary nature. For example:

I live in Edinburgh - this describes my home

I'm living in Edinburgh - this tells you my current situation and suggests it is not permanent


Continuous forms with modal verbs can have a similar meaning:

I'll live in Edinburgh.

I'll be living in Edinburgh


You can read more about the continuous aspect on this page:



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Could you please help me? Is the following sentence correct using the future perfect? Why?
- By the year 2030, the internet will have been used by everyone.
Thank you.