Contents:


Form

The future perfect tense is formed with the modal verb, “will” to talk about the the future.

* Please note: Although not required, using time markers will provide context and sound more natural.

Affirmative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “will have” + past participle form of verb

Contracted form:

subject + “-‘ll have” + past participle form of verb

  • “She will have had more cake by then.”
  • “When I arrive, they will have finished dinner.”

Negative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “will not have” + past participle form of verb

Contracted form:

subject + “-‘ll not have” + past participle form of verb

  • “By midnight, she won’t have gone to bed yet.”
  • “Wally won’t have completed all his assignments before next weekend.”

Questions 

Full form:

will” + subject + “have” + past participle form of verb

question word + “will” + subject + “have” + past participle form of verb

  • Will she have called by then?”
  • How will they have printed all the catalogues?”

Negative questions

It is possible to make negative questions even though their uses are quite specific. [See also: Negative questions]

The structure for full forms and contracted forms are slightly different. Contracted forms are preferred in general.

Contracted form:

won’t” + subject + “be” + present participle form of verb

question word + “won’t” + subject + “have” + past participle form of verb

Full form:

will” + subject + “not have” + past participle form of verb

question word + “will” + subject + “not have” + past participle form of verb

  • Won’t she have called by then?”
  • Why will they not have gotten married before June?”

Timeline of Future perfect tense

For this tense, it’s useful to ask, “Until this point, what actions will be completed?

Here, we look at what actions or events are completed (or expect to be completed) before a certain time in the future.


Uses of the Future perfect tense

Frankly speaking, this is a tense that’s not very commonly used. I have even read an article saying that native speakers do not use this, but I disagree. I think we do—just not very often.

Because of this, there seems to be a lack of information on how to practically use this in conversational English. Instead, what I have here are some uses from my own understanding of how you can practically use the future perfect tense.

1.   To talk about completed actions before a certain time in the future.
  • “The movie will have started by the time we arrive.”
  • “Wally will have fallen asleep before the end of the movie.”
2.   To make predictions.
  • “They will probably have gone to the airport by 6am.”
  • “I’m hoping the rain will have stopped by the time we arrive.”
3.   To express future plans and expectations.
  • “By the time I’m 30, I will have completed my PhD.”
  • “The builder said he will have finished the roof before the end of the week.”
4.   To enquire or confirm expectations.
  • Will she have arrived at the airport by 6am?”
  • Won’t she have arrived at the airport by 6am?”

Original post: 7 October 2020

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