Future Perfect Tense in English Grammar

Introduction

The future perfect tense in English grammar indicates that an action will have been completed by a certain future time. It is constructed with the auxiliary verbs will + have + past participle of the main verb.

Learn about the future perfect tense with Lingolia’s grammar lesson, then test yourself in the exercises.

Example

  • Why is Matthew taking his bicycle apart?
  • He will probably have noticed that his bike is broken.
  • Oh no, we want to go on a bike ride in an hour.
  • Don’t worry, he will have repaired the bike by then.
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Usage

We can use the English future perfect tense for:

  • actions that will have been finished by a future time, usually with an expression of time
    Example:
    Don’t worry, he will have repaired the bike by then.
  • assumptions about something that has probably happened
    Example:
    He will probably have noticed that his bike is broken.

Conjugation of English Future Perfect Tense

To conjugate the future perfect tense, we follow the rule: will + have + past participle. The table below shows the conjugation of positive, negative and interrogative sentences in the future perfect tense.

positivenegativequestion
all forms are the same I will have played/spoken I will not have played/spoken Will I have played/spoken?

Past participle

The past participle of regular verbs is formed by adding -ed. The past participle of irregular verbs is the third verb form (see List of irregular verbs, 3rd column).

Exceptions

  • When a verb ends with -e, we simply add a -d.
    Example:
    love – loved (not: loveed)
  • The final consonant is doubled after a short stressed vowel.
    Example:
    admit – admitted
  • The final consonant -l is always doubled after a vowel in British English but not in American English.
    Example:
    travel – travelled (British)
    traveled (American)
  • A -y at the end of the word is replaced with an -i.
    Example:
    hurry – hurried

Contractions

Contractions are a combination of certain pronouns, verbs and the word not. They are mostly used in spoken and informal written English. The table below provides an overview of contractions in the English future perfect tense.

long formcontractionexample
will …’ll they’ll
will not …’ll not/… won’t I’ll not/I won’t

To Note

In written English, we usually use contractions after pronouns, but not after nouns.

Example:
Unfortunately, she’ll not be sitting next to Charles.
(but not: Unfortunately, the woman’ll/Mrs Nelson’ll not be sitting next to Charles.)
I’m afraid that he’ll not have repaired his bike by then.
(but not: I’m afraid that Matthew’ll not have repaired his bike by then.)

Negated contractions, which area combination of an auxiliary verb and not can always be used.

Example:
I’m afraid that he won’t have repaired his bike by then.
I’m afraid that the boy/Matthew won’t have repaired his bike by then.

Signal Words

Certain expressions can help us to recognise the tense in a sentence. Some examples of signal words or expressions for the future perfect are:

  • by Monday, in a week