Tenses

Future Perfect Continuous

We use the Future Perfect Continuous (Progressive) to express situations that will last for a specified period of time at a definite moment in the future.
We also use this tense to express certainty about the cause of some future situation.

Subject + WILL HAVE BEEN + Verb (continuous form)
  • By the next year, I will have been working as a teacher for 30 years.
  • We will be making a rest stop in half an hour because you will have been driving the car for 6 hours by then.
  • The company will have been negotiating the contract for three months by June.
  • Doctor Schulz will be tired when he gets home because he will have been examining many patients for a few hours.

Use

  1. Duration at a definite moment in the future
  2. Cause of a future situation

Use 1: Duration at a Definite Moment in the Future

We use this tense to express situations that will last for a specified period of time at a definite moment in the future. It is important that we expect these situations to last longer:

  • Before they come, we will have been cleaning the house for 5 hours.
  • By the next year, Ben and his wife will have been living together for 50 years.
  • The company will have been negotiating the the contract for two months by June.

By the next month, I will have been saving money for a new house for 15 years. 

Use 2: Cause of a Future Situation

English speakers also use this tense when they want to express certainty about the cause of some future situation:

  • By this time, he will have been working for 12 hours, so he will be very tired.
  • Simon will be tired when he gets home because he will have been exercising for over 2 hours.

Common Time Expressions

Time expressions that are commonly used with the Future Perfect Continuous:

  • by tomorrow / 8 o'clock
  • this year / month / week
  • next year / month / week
  • for 5 hours, for 10 years, for a few days, for 6 months
  • since morning, since Friday, since 1996, etc.

Form

Contracted forms

Declarative Sentences

Subject

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Verb + ing

e.g. I/a dog etc.

will

have

been

e.g. eating/giving/goin etc.

 

Examples

Use (click to read)

In the summer Mike will have been trying to find a new job for five months.

1

Jane will be very tired when she comes home, because she will have been flying over 24 hours.

2

My father and I will have been breeding sheep for 20 years tomorrow.

1

By the year 2020, linguists will have been studying and defining the Indo-European language family for more than 200 years.

1
If duration of an activity (e.g. since April, for three hours) is unknown then the Future Continuous should be used instead of the Perfect form:
  • I will be taking a bath. CORRECT
  • I will have been taking a bath. WRONG

Negative Sentences

Subject

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Verb + ing

e.g. I/a dog etc.

will not

have

been

e.g. eating/giving/going etc.

 

Examples

Use (click to read)

She won't have been writing the book for four months by the end of October.

1
Negative sentences sound rather unnatural. This is probably because the answer to a question "Will she have been teaching for 30 years this year?",
would simply be "No, I don't think so".

Questions

Auxiliary verb

+

Subject

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Auxiliary verb

+

Verb + ing

will

e.g. I/a dog etc.

have

been

e.g. eating/giving/going etc.

 

Examples

Use (click to read)

Will he have been writing the composition for a month by the end of February?

1
Questions beginning with how long are more common:
  • How long will you have been learning German this year?
  • How long will you have been trying to get your driving license this week?

Check your understanding!