Future perfect tense

Future perfect tense


We use ‚future perfect tense‘ to say that an action will be finished or completed by a certain moment in the future.

We also use it when we want to say that an action will have lasted for some time at a certain point in the future.


will have + past participle or a regular verb + ed

is/are going to have + past participle or a regular verb + ed (less common)


I will have done the project by the boss arrives.

She will have been married for 12 years this summer.

He will have done all his exams by next Tuesday.

Tom is playing tennis from 6pm to 7pm; it’s 6.15 now and Jake wants to call him.

I’ll say to Jake: ‚Wait and call Tom after 7 o’clock. He will have finished playing by then.

Meaning: The action (playing tennis) will be over at 7pm.

Mary bought a house in September 2009, so in September 2013 it will have been 4 years since she bought the house.

Future perfect continuous


We use it when talking about continuous activity into the future.

As with all continuous tenses, it can’t be use with certain verbs.


will have been + verb + ing


At 6pm tonight she will have been playing the piano for 28 hours.

This September I will have been teaching for 3 years.

By next Monday, the new machinery will have been working at 100% output.

If he can keep it up, he will have been swimming for 16 hours at 8pm tonight.

She will have been working there for 3 years next week and still no pay rise.

Some verbs are not usually used in progressive form, e.g.:

  • verbs of senses: feel, hear, see, smell, sound, taste
  • verbs of feelings: love, hate, like, want, fear, respect, admire, adore, dislike, wish, prefer, impress, concern
  • verbs of mental activity: agree, believe, expect, know, mean, remember, trust, understand, recognise, realise, suppose, imagine, doubt
  • verbs of possession: belong, own, owe, possess
  • other verbs: astonish, appear, deny, seem, surprise, consist, include, fit, involve

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Past perfect continuous

Past perfect continuous


We use it when we want to say that something had been going on until a certain moment in the past.

Both actions happened in the past and no connection to present.


He had been living in the UK for 6 years when he enrolled on a teacher training course. ( He had lived there for some time and THEN he went on a course.)

The music had been playing loudly for 2 hours when the neighbours started to complain. (First the music was playing for some time and THEN the complaining has started.)


had been + verb + ing


The debate had been going on for some time when the last delegates arrived.

When I got home I saw that she had been crying.

They hadn’t been playing computer games any more when I came home.

He was sweaty and out of breath when I met him. Had he been running?

She had been working hard ‚till the day she had a cardiac arrest.

We had been doing homework before we went out to play.

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Conditionals summary

Conditionals summary

1st conditional


We use the 1st conditional to say something can happen when the condition is fulfilled. It relates to present and future.


If + present simple , future simple


If you want to buy a car, you’ll have to save some money.

If we keep polluting the Earth, we will destroy our civilisation.

If I have got some time this week, I will go to the theatre.

If he doesn’t study hard, he will fail his exams at school.

If it doesn’t rain soon, the harvest won’t be much.

2nd conditional


We talk about an imaginary situation. It doesn’t relate to any specific time period.


If + past simple , would + present simple

In British English, it is possible to use ‚If I was‘ .

In American English only ‚If I were‘ is considered a correct form.


If I was/were a manager here, I would make many changes.

(=BUT I am not a manager here)

If I won a lottery, I wouldn’t bother going to work and I would travel all over the world.

(=it’s not very likely I am going to win a lottery)

If they got a house to live in, they wouldn’t stay with her parents.

(= but they haven’t got a house to live in nor money to buy it)

If she married me, I would be the luckiest man alive!

( =I think she will not marry me, it’s just a wish!)

If the Humankind made contact with an extra-terrestrial life form, it would change our view on our place in the universe.

(= it is not probable that we ever make contact with any life forms on other planets)

We can also use this structure:

Was/Were I any very good with computers, I would work as a hacker.

Was she nicer to me, I wouldn’t split up with her.

3rd conditional


We talk about situations that didn’t happen in the past.


If + past perfect , would have + past participle


If I had known about you coming over, I would have thrown a welcome party.

( = but I didn’t know)

If they had found him earlier, they could have saved his life.

(= But the found him too late)

If she hadn’t worn a seatbelt, she would have sustained serious injuries.

(= But she wore a seatbelt, fortunately)

If you had told me about you losing a job, I would have set up an interview with my boss.

( I couldn’t do anything because you didn’t tell me)

If he had married married her, they wouldn’t have been very happy for long.

(= but he didn’t marry her and that saved him from future problems)

We can also use this structure:

Had I known about your health problems, I wouldn’t have asked you about the loan.

Had she met her husband at university, she would have been married by now.

Had they not missed their plane last night, they would have been in the USA by now.

Mixed conditional


We sometimes mix second and third conditional to talk about hypothetical situation in the past with present/future  consequences.


If you hadn’t drunk that much last night, you would be fine today.

If you had told me earlier, we wouln’t be in trouble today.

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