Future Perfect Tense
The future perfect tense indicates an action or state of being that will be completed in some future time before another event occurs. You only use the future perfect to express the first action. To express the second action, use the simple present tense. You can use the auxiliaries “will” and “be going to” interchangeably in the future perfect tense.
- I will have asked her by the time you get around to making the phone call.
- They will have cut the cake before her mother finishes that long toast.
- We are going to have completed our Algebra assignment by the beginning of class for once.
You use the future perfect tense, not the future continuous, to indicate durations of time with stative verbs: “I will have been at her house for six weeks by the time I leave,” not “I will be being at her house for six weeks by the time I leave.”
Forming the Future Perfect Tense
Make the future perfect tense by using a combination of the auxiliaries “will” or “be going to” + “have” + the past tense of the root verb.
- I will have walked six miles before you pick me up.
- They are going to have collected six thousand dollars in subscriptions by the deadline.
- By 6 PM, she will have spoken to everyone in the room.
Making the Future Perfect Tense Negative
To make the future perfect tense negative, you negate the auxiliary verb form:
- He will not have finished the pizza before they close up shop.
- By next spring, she still will not have understood the mystery of how the squirrels managed to get in.
- They are not going to have walked all of the Great Wall by the time they leave China; that would be impossible!
Phrasing the Future Perfect Tense as a Question
To make the future perfect tense interrogative, use this order: auxiliary verb form + subject + “have” + the past tense form of the root verb. Interrogatives can also begin with adverbs expressing time or place.
- Won’t he have finished eating by the time we get there?
- How much will you have painted before it’s too dark to see outside?
- Are they going to have seen the play before they write an essay on it?
Learn more about verb tenses.