What Is The Future Perfect Tense?

Written by Dan

The English language has twelve tenses, each serving a unique purpose to help us understand the time and complexity of an action or event. One of these tenses that encounter lesser usage compared to others, but is equally important, is the future perfect tense.

While many people may not be aware of this particular tense, it’s crucial to be familiar with its uses to create more contextually precise sentences.

This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the future perfect tense, how and when it should be used, and some examples to familiarize readers.

So, whether you’re an English language learner or already an expert in English, read on to learn more about the future perfect tense.

Related: For more, check out our article on The 12 Tenses In The English Language  here.

Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect tense is a verb tense used to express an action or event that will be completed at some point in the future before another action or time. This tense is created by using the auxiliary verb “will have” followed by the past participle form of the main verb.

Here’s the basic formula for constructing the future perfect tense:

subject + will have + past participle

For example: “By the time you arrive, we will have finished dinner.”

The future perfect tense describes an action that began in the past, continues in the present and will end in the future before a specific time. It’s often used to indicate that an event will occur before another event or earlier.

For example: “I will have completed my homework by the time you arrive.”

The future perfect tense can also be used in conditional sentences or “if” clauses. For example: “If I have finished my work, I will have time to watch a movie.”

Furthermore, the future perfect tense describes assumptions, predictions, and expectations about future events. For example: “She will have prepared a fantastic meal for the party tonight.”

Differences between Future Continuous Tense and Other Tenses

The future continuous tense is a unique verb form differentiated from other tenses based on its specific usage and formation. Here are some of the significant differences between the future continuous tense and different tenses:

Future Continuous Tense vs Simple Future Tense

The simple future tense is used to describe an action that will occur in the future, while the future continuous tense is used to convey an ongoing or in-progress action that will happen in the future.

For example:

  • Simple future tense: “I will call you tomorrow at 8 pm.”
  • Future continuous tense: “I will be driving to work tomorrow at 8 am.”

Future Continuous Tense vs Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect tense describes an action that will be completed before another action or point. In contrast, the future continuous tense describes an action that will progress at a specific point.

For example:

  • Future perfect tense: “She will have completed her degree by the end of next year.”
  • Future continuous tense: “She will be studying for her exams all day tomorrow.”

Future Continuous Tense vs Present Continuous Tense

The present continuous tense describes an ongoing action in the present or the immediate future. In contrast, the future continuous tense is used to convey an activity that will be ongoing in the future.

For example:

  • Present continuous tense: “I am currently watching a movie.”
  • Future continuous tense: “I will be watching a movie with my friends tomorrow evening.”

Overall the future continuous tense is distinct from other tenses in English grammar based on its unique usage, distinctive structures, and the time it is used.

By understanding the differences between the future continuous tense and other tenses, learners can use this verb form accurately to communicate effectively in various situations.

Teaching Opportunities for the Future Perfect Tense

Teaching the future perfect tense provides various opportunities to engage students in learning this aspect of English grammar. Here are some potential teaching opportunities that educators can explore when teaching the future perfect tense:

  1. Presenting the future perfect tense within the larger context of all twelve tenses in English grammar allows students to understand why and when to use this tense.
  2. Incorporate written exercises such as gap-fill activities, matching exercises or worksheets to help students practice forming and using the future perfect tense.
  3. Use real-world events and situations, such as asking students to predict their accomplishments by the end of a semester or year.
  4. Provide students with reading or listening activities incorporating the future perfect tense, such as text that describes an upcoming event or an action that will be completed by a specific time.
  5. Create speaking exercises that ask students to explain the sequence of future actions they will have completed by a specific time or event.
  6. Provide feedback and correct the students’ mistakes using the future perfect tense.

Overall, teaching the future perfect tense offers a range of opportunities for educators to engage their students in fun and interactive learning activities to enhance their understanding of English grammar.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1


At the end of this lesson, students can accurately form and use the future perfect tense in speaking and writing.


Begin by introducing the concept of verb tenses, explicitly focusing on the 12 different tenses in English grammar. Explain how each tense is used differently and why certain tenses are more appropriate for specific situations.

Introduce the future perfect tense in particular, emphasizing its key characteristics (e.g., actions completed before a specific point in time). Provide examples of sentence structures using this tense.

Main Teaching Points:

  1. Demonstrate how to form sentences using the future perfect tense for singular and plural verbs.
  2. Demonstrate how to use adverbs of time correctly with this tense.
  3. Please encourage students to speak using sentences constructed with this tense to gain confidence in their verbal usage.
  4. Allow students to work with written exercises such as gap-fill activities or matching exercises that involve forming sentences using this tense.
  5. Ask students to write about an upcoming event or real-world situation that requires them to use the future perfect tense (e.g., predicting what they will have accomplished by the end of a semester).
  6. Have students read texts including this tense and discuss their understanding as a group or class activity.

Key Questions:

  • What is the difference between a simple future and a future perfect?
  • What is the purpose of using adverbs of time when speaking or writing?

Reflection & Adaptations:

Conclude this lesson by having students reflect on what they have learned regarding verb tenses, focusing primarily on content related to forming sentences with the future perfect tense (verb conjugations, adverbial phrases etc.) Encourage students to ask questions if they feel confused about any aspect related to this topic; provide additional opportunities for discussion, especially for those who need further clarification/understanding about these concepts.

Lesson Plan 2


At the end of this lesson, students can confidently explain real-world events and situations involving past, present and future actions by correctly constructing sentences using present continuous, present simple, and future perfect tenses.


Begin by providing an overview of basic action verb tenses across various timescales (past, present and future). Provide examples from everyday life, such as talking about what happened yesterday versus what is happening now versus what will happen later today or tomorrow etc.

Point out language patterns associated with each time frame while emphasizing content explicitly related to present continuous simple present and future perfect tenses (i.e., conjugation rules) through interactive activities such as gap-fills or matching exercises where appropriate).

Main Teaching Points:

  1. Engage learners in group discussions wherein each student has an opportunity to explain a real-world event or situation involving past/present/future actions while employing proper verb forms according to the timescale mentioned (e.g., describing something they did yesterday, describing something they are doing currently; telling something they will do next week etc.). Point out incorrect tenses during these conversations so learners can learn from one another’s mistakes without feeling self-conscious about them—this way, everyone can benefit from corrections without individuals being singled out for making mistakes themselves!
  2. Provide reading/listening activities featuring verbal constructions incorporating all three main verb tenses discussed. Focus on correcting errors during these activities so everyone can practice hearing how correction sounds naturally rather than simply memorizing rules from books.

Key Questions:

  • What is [tense]? How is it used differently from other action verbs?
  • When would you use [tense] instead of [different tense]? Why?

Reflection & Adaptations:

Conclude this session by allowing learners to reflect upon all language patterns discussed, emphasizing content related, and forming sentences around each main verb discussed.

To facilitate the reflection process, consider giving learners open-ended questions such as “What has been the hardest part of learning all these different verbs today?” This way, you can assess learner understanding while gauging potential areas requiring further attention or teaching

List of the 12 Tenses in English Grammar

  1. Present Simple: Used to describe habitual or regular actions that occur in the present (e.g., I eat breakfast every morning).
  2. Present Continuous: Used to describe an action (e.g., I am eating breakfast now).
  3. Present Perfect: Used to describe an action that happened in the recent past (e.g., I have eaten breakfast already).
  4. Present Perfect Continuous: Used to describe a continuous action that began in the past and continues into the present (e.g., I have been eating breakfast for the past hour).
  5. Past Simple: used for completed actions in the past (e.g., I ate breakfast yesterday).
  6. Past Continuous: Used to indicate actions that were happening at some point (e.g., I was eating breakfast when she arrived).
  7. Past Perfect: Used to refer to an event or state of affairs which had occurred before a particular point of reference in the past (e,g., Before she arrived, I had eaten breakfast)
  8. Past Perfect Continuous: Used to indicate activities which began before a specific time and continued up until that time (e.g. I had been eating breakfast for an hour before she arrived)
  9. Future Simple: Used to refer to events or states of affairs which will take place after a certain point in time or context understandings such as promises and threats (e.g. I will eat breakfast tomorrow)
  10. Future Perfect Tense: Used to talk about events or situations that will happen before a certain point in the future. For example, “By 8 am tomorrow, I will have eaten breakfast.”
  11. Future Continuous: Used when referring to actions which will be taking place at some unspecified moment within a future period (e.g., I will be eating breakfast at eight tomorrow morning)
  12. Future Perfect Continuous: Used when suggesting something will continue beyond a particular point of reference into the future(e.g., I Will Have Been Eating Breakfast For Two Hours By The Time She Arrives)

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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