- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate Skill Builders
- Category: Upper-Intermediate Skill Builders: Grammar
- Written by Chris Cotter
What is the future perfect tense?
Sometimes we talk about an event that still lies in our future. But when we talk about this future event, it's from a point even further into the future. This is the future perfect tense.
A: What will your life be like in 2025?
B: Well, I will have gotten married by 2025. I will have had children, too.
What is the sentence structure?
The sentence structure for the future perfect tense looks more difficult than it actually is.
subject | auxiliary verb (will) | auxiliary verb (have) | past participle | object/complement
Tina | will | have | started | school in one week.
The President | will | have | given | his speech by 8:00 pm.
By the time I'm 60, I | will | have | retired | a millionaire.
In order to make the meaning clearer, a time clause may be used to provide a point of reference. For example: I will have retired a millionaire by the time I'm 60. The time clause may appear at the beginning or end of a sentence. For example:
In one week, Tina will have started school.
The President will have given his speech by 8:00 pm.
How is the future perfect tense used?
The future perfect tense describes an action or circumstance completed or achieved in a more distant time in the future. This grammar structure may be used to imagine future events, as in the following:
By 2025, I will have gotten married and had a couple of kids.
By the 22nd century, we will have developed cars that fly.
The future perfect may also describe an event in the future which hasn't begun or hasn't been completed in the present. For example:
Alex: What are you doing now?
Bill: I'm studying for my big test tomorrow. I will have finished in a few hours.
Pam: I just lost my job!
Steve: That's terrible.
Pam: Actually, I'm really happy. I needed a vacation.
Steve: But in a month or two, your money will have run out. What do you plan to do then?
In the first example, Bill is presently studying for his big test. He will have finished studying in a few hours. In the second example, Pam now has money. In one or two months, the circumstances may be quite different. Then she will have run out of money.
Is there additional information on the future perfect tense?
Yes. The future perfect tense may get confused with the future perfect progressive, which takes the following structure:
subject | auxiliary verb (will) | auxiliary verb (have) | past participle (be) | main verb + ing
In one month, I | will | have | been | living in Korea for three years.
The future perfect tense focuses on a specific point in time. The future perfect progressive focuses on a future action or event that will also continue into the future.