Future Perfect Continuous Tense. Free English Lesson with Test and Certificate.
Future Perfect Continuous Tense study for SAT, IELTS, TESOL and other exams.
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How to use the Future Perfect Continuous tense in English
We use the future perfect continuous tense to show that something will continue up until a particular event or time in the future. For example, “They will have been studying for over an hour by the time I arrive.” Both things - the studying and your arrival - will happen in the future.
Here’s a few more examples:
- She is going to have been working at that company for three years when she finally gets a pay increase.
- Will she have been cooking all day when we arrive for Christmas dinner?
- You won't get a vacation unless you have been working here for one year.
Your English lesson about the Future Perfect Continuous Tense
Welcome to the Future Perfect tense lesson! In this lesson, you will learn many of the general rules about the future perfect tense, its structure, and its common uses.
We use the future perfect continuous to show that something will continue up until a particular event or time in the future. "For five minutes," "for two weeks," and "since Friday" are all durations which can be used with the future perfect continuous. Notice that this is similar to the present perfect continuous and the past perfect continuous; however, with future perfect continuous, the duration stops at or before a reference point in the future.
Let’s see how this works with a few examples:
They will have been studying for over an hour by the time I arrive.
She is going to have been working at that company for three years when she finally gets a pay increase.
Matt will have been teaching at the university for two years by the time he leaves for America.
How long will you have been studying when you graduate?
We will have been waiting for 30 minutes before we get a seat at the restaurant.
As shown in the above examples, the future perfect continuous tense has two different forms, "will have been doing " and "be going to have been doing." These two forms are usually interchangeable. You can use either form without changing the meaning.
The future perfect continuous with "will" looks like this:
[will have been + present participle]
Gavin will have been waiting for more than two hours when it is finally his turn to perform at the school concert.
Will she have been cooking all day when we arrive for Christmas dinner?
He will not have been waiting for more than five minutes before the doctor begins the examination.
Here is the standard form for the future perfect continuous with "be going to"
[am/is/are + going to have been + present participle]
June is going to have been practicing ice skating for about 8 years when she competes at age 12.
Is Phil going to have been watching football all day when we stop by?
They are not going to have been playing for very long when we ask them to go home and do their homework.
As we have discussed, the future perfect continuous is used to show the duration before an event in the future. In the following examples, you will notice that it is also used to show cause and effect.
Daryl will be hungry when we see him because he will have been dieting since Saturday.
Stephanie's swimming will be much improved when she returns to school because she is going to have been practicing at the beach every day for the entire summer.
If one does not include a duration such as "for five minutes," "for two weeks" or "since Friday," many English speakers choose to use the future continuous rather than the future perfect continuous. Be careful because this can change the meaning of the sentence. The future continuous emphasizes interrupted actions, whereas the future perfect continuous tense emphasizes the duration of time before something in the future. Study the examples below to understand the difference.
He will be tired because he will be exercising so hard.
This future continuous sentence emphasizes that he will be tired because he will be exercising at that exact moment in the future.
He will be tired because he will have been exercising so hard.
This future perfect continuous sentence emphasizes that he will be tired because he will have been exercising for a period of time. It is possible that he will still be exercising at that moment OR that he will just have finished.
Like all future forms, the future perfect continuous cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of future perfect continuous, present perfect continuous is used.
This sentence is not correct:
You won't get a vacation unless you will have been working here for one year.
This sentence is correct:
You won't get a vacation unless you have been working here for one year.
More future perfect continuous tense exercises
It is important to remember that non-continuous verbs cannot be used in any continuous tenses. Also, certain non-continuous meanings for mixed verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. Instead of using the future perfect continuous with these verbs, you must use future perfect.
Non-continuous verbs: verbs that cannot be used in continuous forms are usually verbs that you cannot see somebody doing. These verbs are rarely used in continuous forms. They are:
Abstract verbs: Be, want, cost, need, care, contain, owe, exist, etc.
Possession verbs: Own, belong, possess, etc.
Emotion verbs: Like, love, hate, dislike, fear, envy, etc.
Ned will have been having his driver's license for over two years.
Ned will have had his driver's license for over two years.
Lastly, keep in mind that you cannot use future tenses in time clauses. Time clauses begin with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. So, we say, “Before we get a seat” instead of, “Before we will get a seat”. Even though the event will take place in the future, we use the present tense in the time clause.
It’s story time
Now that we’ve learned a lot about the future perfect continuous tense, let’s see how this is used in a short story. As you read the following story, pay attention to how the future perfect continuous is used.
The wedding date is set. They are going to get married on June 21. It is really a nice story. First, they met at school in 2005, and they started dating in 2010. So, they will have been together for 5 years on their wedding day.
Unfortunately, planning the wedding will be a challenge for everyone. The bride will have been dreaming about this day since the age of four. Every detail will have to be discussed in great detail.
When they hire Mrs. Stewart the wedding planner, she will actually make things more difficult. Mrs. Stewart will have been working in the wedding industry for 20 years at the time of the wedding. She is known for having good ideas, but she sometimes has a hard time if people disagree with her.
They will have been arguing for 3 weeks when they decide that Mrs. Stewart isn’t the right person for them. However, even after Mrs. Stewart is removed, the problems will continue.
They will argue about the DJ, the food arrangements, and the flowers. However, the biggest argument will be about the guest list. The groom has a big family with many friends, but the bride has a small family and less friends. When they finally come to an agreement, they will have been debating this for days.
At last, the wedding day will arrive. Everything will go according to plan, and everyone will have a good time. After they had struggled with this process for almost a year, they will finally be able to relax and feel happy about the life they are about to share together.
That’s the end of the lesson on the Future Perfect Continuous tense.
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