Future Perfect vs. Future Continuous

There are similarities and differences between future perfect and future continuous, which might cause confusion. To learn more, click here!

What is Their Main Difference?

Future perfect tense discusses an action or event that will come to an end before an exact time in the future. Future continuous tense, however, talks about an action that will be happening at an exact time in the future.

Uses and Comparison

We will start this lesson by comparing the two tenses and talking about their uses in English grammar.

1. Describing Future Actions

The future perfect tense is used to describe events and actions that would have taken place or will have taken place under certain conditions and circumstances. Future continuous tense talks about events that will occur in the future at a certain period of time.

We will be working on a new project.

In this example, we are talking about a progress that happens in the future.

We will have worked on a new project.

In this example, we are talking about action that is set and done in the future.

She will be going to class.

Here, 'she' is in the process of going and probably the action is not even fulfilled yet.

She will have been in class.

Here, 'she' has fulfilled the action and is done with the process.

2. Temporary Actions

Future continuous tense can be used to talk about events and actions that seem new or unusual actions and events. These actions or events may also last for a short period of time.

I always took the train, but I will be taking the bus.

This speaker is talking about a change in their usual daily routine.

I always took the train, but I will have taken the bus.

Here, there are no changes in the daily habit therefore it is incorrect.

They will be staying for the weekend.

Here, the speaker is talking about a temporary action that will last for a short period of time.

They will have stayed for the weekend.

Here, there are no sign of temporary action in this sentence, therefore it is incorrect.

Tip!

When using future perfect, we can use phrases that specify time periods like 'by' to indicate when exactly in the future does the task end. Have a look:

We will be done by tomorrow morning.

In a month, we will have finished writing the essay.

Structure

Now that we compared the two tenses and learned their uses individually, we will tackle one last frequently asked question about these tenses before we depart. You may struggle with structure but once you learn it, you will find creating these tenses very simple.

1. Future Perfect

The future perfect tense follows a certain pattern. This pattern contains the auxiliary verb 'will,' and 'have' followed by the past participle of the main verb.

Here is the pattern: Subject + will + have + past participle

He will have been there by 7 o'clock.

We will have arrived by midnight.

2. Future Continuous

Creating future continuous is also very easy once you learn its structure. This pattern also contains the auxiliary verbs 'will' and 'be' followed by the present participle of the main verb.

Here is the pattern: Subject + will + be + -ing form

I will be waiting.

They will be reading.

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