"Future Perfect Continuous" Tense in English Grammar

Future Perfect Continuous

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"Future Perfect Continuous" Tense in English Grammar

What Is Future Perfect Continuous Tense?

The future perfect continuous tense is like future perfect tense. Their difference is that the future perfect simple normally focuses on the result of the activity, and the future perfect continuous normally focuses on the process of the activity and it expresses longer actions. The future perfect continuous refers ongoing actions that will be finished at some future time. Normally we have a time expression in the sentence.

Future Perfect Continuous: Structure

The future perfect continuous is composed of the auxiliary verb 'will,' the auxiliary verb 'have' and the past participle of the verb 'be' and the present participle of the main verb. Look at the table below to get to know them.

Subject All subjects
Auxiliary will will
Auxiliary have have
Past participle of be been
Present participle of main verb verb + -ing

Here is the general structure of a sentence in 'future perfect continuous' tense.

  • All subjects + will + have + been + verb + -ing

When we use the future perfect tense in speaking, we often contract subject and auxiliary verb 'will.' Check out the examples below, for more clarification.

He will have been studying for three hours. → He'll have been studying for three hours.

In three years, he will have been teaching for thirty years. → In three years, he'll have been teaching for thirty years.

Future Perfect Continuous: Negation

For negative sentences you put 'not' between the auxiliary verb 'will' and the auxiliary verb 'have.' For example:

In three years, he will have been teaching for thirty years. → In three years, he will not have been teaching for thirty years.

Here, you can see the process of negation in action.

In negative sentences, we can contract the auxiliary verb 'will' and 'not.' See the examples:

In three years, he will not have been teaching for thirty years. → In three years, he won't have been teaching for thirty years.

Here, you can see the process of contraction in action.

Future Perfect Continuous: Questions

For yes/no question sentences, we put 'will' at the beginning of the sentence. Look at these example sentences with the future perfect continuous tense:

In three years, he will have been teaching for thirty years. → In three years, will he have been teaching for thirty years?

For wh- question sentences, do the exact thing you do for yes/no questions and add the proper wh- question word at the beginning of the sentence and omit the part that is the answer. Check out the examples:

She will have been studying at NYY. → Where will she have been studying?

Tip!

If you want to learn more about spelling rules of adding -ing to the base form of verbs, see here.

Future Perfect Continuous: Uses

Using Future Perfect Continuous to Talk about an Action That Will Continue up until a Point in the Future

When someone uses the future perfect continuous, they are talking about:

An Unfinished Action

We use the 'future perfect continuous tense' to talk about an ongoing action that continues up to another point in the future. We need 'for + length of time.' For example:

In three years, he will have been teaching for thirty years.

Here, we are talking about an ongoing action that continue up to the future.

I will have been waiting for the bus for two hours by 9:00.

A Finished Action

We use the 'future perfect continuous tense' to talk about an action in the future that finishes just before another time or action. Look at the examples:

When you come over, I'll have been studying; therefore, I'll be exhausted.

When I come at nine o'clock, will you have been studying long?

Cause and Effects

A set of events can lead to a result. The events that continuously happen before a future event have to be expressed by 'future perfect tense. For example:

She will be bored because she will have been reading all the time for that job.

Here, we are referring to an action being done in the future that leads to a certain result.

They will have been working all day and feel tired for the birthday party.

When Not to Use Future Perfect Continuous Tense

We do not normally use the continuous with stative verbs (also called non-continuous verbs). These verbs are normally used in the simple form because they refer to states, rather than actions or progress. Use the simple present perfect with verbs such as 'know, hate, hear, understand, want.' Here are the examples:

They will have believed (Not "will have been believing) her by the time.

In June, I will have known (Not "will have been knowing") you for two months.

Review

It is obvious that the difference between future perfect tense and future perfect continuous tense is in the structure and meaning. whenever the term 'continuous' is in a tense you can easily guess that the action takes place in a progressive state.

Structure, Contraction, Affirmative, Negative, and Question Forms

structure subject + will + have + been + v + -ing
affirmative Sam will have been studying on Monday.
negative Sam will not have been studying on Monday.
contraction Sam won't have been studying on Monday.
yes/no question Will Sam have been studying on Monday?
-wh question Who will have been studying on Monday?

When to Use Future Perfect Continuous Tense?

  1. To talk about an unfinished action
  2. To talk about a finished action

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