What is the Future Perfect?
09 Jul 2021
Once you know how to use the simple future forms, like ‘will’ and ‘be going to’, you’re ready to start learning more advanced future structures, including the future perfect.
If you’ve already studied the present perfect form, you’re probably wondering how there can be a future perfect tense. Well, read on to find out!
A quick reminder of the present perfect
In order to understand how to use the future perfect tense, it helps to know when we use the present perfect. So let’s start by briefly reviewing it.
We use the present perfect when we want to connect something from the past to the present. This can mean:
- a recent finished action that is important now – I’ve finished the report..
- life experience – We’ve been to Paris twice.
- an unfinished action – He’s lived here for 2 years.
In each case there is a focus on completion at this moment.
The Future Perfect
We use the future perfect tense to describe the same sense of completion but at a moment in the future. For example,
I’ll have finished the report by lunchtime.
After our next trip we’ll have been to Paris three times.
In June he’ll have lived here for 3 years.
How to construct the Future Perfect
This tense is relatively easy to construct because it has the same structure for all persons. In each case you need to use will + have + the past participle of the main verb. For example,
You will have studied.
To create the past participle of a regular verb you just need to add -ed. While for irregular verbs the past participles vary and you need to study them, preferably gradually over a period of time.
Here is a table with an example of the future perfect tense for each person using the verb ‘to work’.
It’s very common to use a time expression with ‘by’ with the future perfect, meaning ‘not later than’. Here are some examples,
By 5 p.m. the conference will have finished.
By 2030 the world population will have become much bigger.
Will you have written the contract by Friday?
Is the Future Perfect used in everyday speech?
The future perfect, like all verb tenses in English, is used daily by native speakers both in writing and speaking and in formal and informal situations. For this reason, it really is worth learning. Here are some other examples for you to read to help you become more familiar with it.
Call me at 2 p.m. I’ll have eaten lunch by then.
By next Friday we’ll have moved into our new home!
Let’s wait until 5 p.m. The game will have finished by then.
We’ll have resolved the IT problem by this afternoon.
In May she’ll have been in Australia for ten years.
By tomorrow you’ll have had five interviews with this company!
You won’t have left when I arrive, will you?
They’ll have painted the house before moving in.
What will you have done by the end of today?
Learning to use the Future Perfect tense will help you become more fluent when you want to talk about the future. Start using it now by making some examples about yourself and what you’ll have done by the end of today.
You can practice further by doing the fun quiz on this post.