Future Perfect Tense

When to use Future Perfect

Future Perfect is used when we talk about a future action that will be in the past, looking back. Future Perfect projects us in to the distant future. If we look back to another action from the distant future, that action will be in the past. That sounds very complicated, but the examples will make it clear. If you want to say that you finish school in June and in June your classes will be finished, you can say:

I will have finished school by June.

Looking at it from the present, June and finishing school are both in the future. However, looking at it from June, finishing school will be in the past.

Other examples:

My daughter will have graduated by the time we are going away.
The team will have trained enough by the World Cup.
He will have practised enough before the test.

Structure of Future Perfect Tense

Subject + will + have+ Past Participle of Main Verb + Object

The auxiliary verb of perfect tenses is ‘to have’ which needs to be used in future form in the Future Perfect Tense. Future can be expressed by using the auxiliary verb ‘will’. Will must be followed by the present form of the verb, so the correct form will be ‘will have’. Finally, the action verb needs to be in past participle because of the auxiliary verb ‘have’.

Note that there are many verbs that have irregular second and third forms. Make sure to learn the most common ones from this list!

Some examples for the structure:
My dog will have been 2 years old by then.
The offer will have been expired by the time I get my salary.
The writer will have finished his book by the deadline.

Take a look at the following table to review how Future Perfect is formed:

Making the Future Perfect Tense negative

To create the negative form of a Future Perfect verb, you need to combine ‘not’ and the auxiliary verb ‘will’ similarly to other future tenses. The short form is ‘won’t’. Remember to use the short forms in informal conversations and the long forms in a written, formal context.

Subject + won’t / will not + have + V3rd

The project won’t have been fully finished by the deadline.
I won’t have cooked dinner by 8 o’clock because I’m busy till 7:30 pm.

Yes/No questions in Future Perfect

As in any other tenses, questions in Future Perfect are formed by switching the auxiliary verb ‘will’ and the subject. For example:
Will you have finished your homework by the time the movie starts?
Will the baby have been born by May?
Will you have saved up some money by the summer, so we can go to Australia?

Open-ended questions in Future Perfect

To form open-ended questions, simply put the question word to the beginning of the sentence. The word order folowing the question word remains tha same as in case of yes/no questions. For example:

How will you have learnt all the material by Friday?
What will you have learnt by Friday?

Typical time expressions of Future Perfect Tense

As you might have noticed already in the examples above, expressions with ‘by….’ are very typical in the Future Perfect Tense. ‘By’ can be used as a one-word adverb or as a clause. It is not mandatory to use ‘by’ with Future Perfect but it is very common. For example,

I will have lived here for 10 years by 2020.
I will have lived here for 10 years by the time I turn 30.

Will you have completed the whole course by June?
Will you have completed the whole course by the time exams start?

You can use other adverbs, as well. Note that ‘in’ doesn’t work as a clause. For example,

I think we will have colonized Mars in 2050.
Mary will have walked the dogs before 8 pm.
A week from now we will have landed in Bali.
If I learn English, I will have learnt 10 languages.

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