How to use future perfect simple & continuous in English

In this video lesson, we're going to focus on the future perfect simple and continuous, after our previous lessons on the present perfect simple and continuous and the past perfect simple and continuous. How do we use the future perfect and what's the difference between the simple and continuous forms?


Hi everyone, in this video we're going to look at the future perfect. We're going to look at the future perfect simple and the future perfect continuous as well. We'll look at a few example sentences to help you understand and then at the end, we'll do a quick quiz to see how much you've learnt.

As with the present perfect and the past perfect the future perfect is used to show the relationship between two different points in time. In the future perfect, these are two points that are both in the future, but they don't necessarily happen at the same time. So it's useful so we can see the relationship between these two events that both happen in the future.

So let's look at an example to see what I mean. "By this time tomorrow, I will have finished all my homework". In this example, both events happen in the future. "By this time tomorrow" - so if the time now is 9 o'clock, we're talking about 9 o'clock tomorrow. And 'finishing my homework' - I haven't finished my homework yet, but I will finish it in the future. Now again, as with the present perfect and the past perfect, we're interested in the action and not the time. So it doesn't matter when I finish my homework, but the important thing is that I finish it in the future, before the next point in time, in this case before this time tomorrow. "By this time tomorrow, I will have finished my homework".

You can use the future perfect to make predictions about the future. "By the year 2030, humans will have walked on Mars". You could also say: "Humans will have walked on Mars in the next 15 years". 'By' means 'before a certain time'. So by 2030 means at some time between now and the year 2030. It doesn't matter when it happens, but the most important thing is the action. The most important thing is that it happens at some time in the future between now and 2030.

If you want to emphasise a repeated or a continuous series of actions, you can use the future perfect continuous. For example, if you feel frustrated about how long it's taking you to learn English, you could say: "By next year, I will have been learning English for ten years!" The continuous form emphasises the repeated and the continuous nature of the action of learning English. Obviously you're not learning English all the time every day, but this is a repeated action, something you do again and again and again. So you haven't been learning English for ten years yet, maybe only nine years, but "by next year, you will have been learning English for ten years", and this helps to express the fact that maybe you're quite frustrated and it's taking a long time.

The future perfect continuous can also express a temporary situation. "By tonight, I will have been studying all day", so I will be very tired. The result of studying all day means that by a point in the future, by tonight, I will be very tired. I'm not tired yet, but "by tonight I will be, because I will have been studying all day".

OK, let's have a look at the form of the future perfect. How do we form the future perfect? So the future perfect simple is formed by using 'will' plus 'have' plus the past participle. For example, "will have walked on Mars". The future perfect continuous is formed using 'will' plus 'have' plus 'been' plus the present participle. For example, "will have been learning English".

OK, as with the present perfect and the past perfect, we also use contractions in the future perfect as well, which means that we squeeze words together to make it easier and quicker to say. So instead of saying "I will have finished" it's more common when we're speaking to say: "I'll have finished". It's also possible to say "I will've finished". This makes 'will' sound stronger and it makes it sound that you're emphasising the fact that you will have done this in the future. "I will've finished!"

OK, it's quiz time to see how much you've learnt. So I'm going to give you five example sentences and I want you to decide from the two events in the future, which one happens first?

Number one: "I will have left by the time you arrive".

Number two: "I will have been working at this company for thirty years by the time I retire".

Number three: "In twenty years, robots will have taken all our jobs".

Number four: "I won't have finished this project by the deadline".

Number five: "By tomorrow, it will have been raining for over a week".

OK, that's all you need to know about the future perfect, simple and continuous. If it's not clear, go back and watch the video again. It's always easier the second time. Listen out for examples of the future perfect when you're watching movies or when you're reading, when you're listening to music and this can help you to understand it much better.

Don't forget to like, share and subscribe to this video and finally go to where you can find full courses to help you improve your English even further. Good luck, keep practising and I'll see you soon.