Using The Future Perfect Continuous Correctly

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Want to use the future perfect continuous tense correctly? Carry on reading. The future perfect continuous or future progressive is one of many future tenses in English. It deals with actions that will keep going until a specific point in the future.

We use the future perfect continuous when looking back to the past from a point in the future, this is to emphasize the duration or length of a specific activity or event. Here are some future perfect continuous examples, flashcards, and a checkpoint quiz for Grades 6+ and ESL.

future perfect continuous definition and example

How Do You Use the Future Perfect?

Some textbooks may refer to the future perfect continuous using the alternative term of future perfect progressive tense. Either of these terms will refer to the same kind of sentence structure in the English language. The future perfect continuous tense deals with actions that will continue until a certain point. Much like some of the other future tenses, we might use in English; we project ourselves forward in time when we talk or write in the progressive here.

However, there is slightly more to it than this. We also need our future selves to look back at the activity that is part of the structure of the sentence. In doing so, we need to consider the supposed duration of this activity. There is a key aspect to this future perfect progressive time aspect, and it is important that it does not confuse students. Although we are looking forward in time at some action that should complete, it is one that someone could have started in the past, our present, or the future that we are considering. We can look at some examples to illustrate this time aspect.

  1. In December, he will have been working at that company for a whole year.
  2. In an hour, she will have been sleeping since last night.
  3. Once I graduate from school, I will have been practicing my cooking skills for ten years.
  4. After I quit, I will have been working as a teacher for five years.
  5. Next week, I will have been studying non-stop for three weeks.

Using the examples above, we can see that the future perfect continuous tense always propels us forward in time. However, it can talk about actions that started in the past, present, or future. In the first example, the subject already started working at his company at some point in the past, and he expects to continue working there after the first year concludes. If we consider the next example, the subject is sleeping at the present time. She is still engaged in the activity of sleeping and has been doing so since last night. For the final example, the subject has already been practicing their cooking skills, but they are talking about a future time that extends to a future date when they graduate.

When to Use the Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Although there are exceptions to consider, we can divide the future perfect continuous tense according to the main uses in which one might construct it for a sentence.

Before an Action in the Future

We can use the future perfect continuous to explain some action or scenario that will continue until it reaches a particular point in the future. If students already have some familiarity with present or past perfect continuous, they may see similarities between them and the future perfect continuous here. However, unlike the former two, the action ceases at or before the point we reference at the future time.

  1. She will have been instructing at the academy for two years by the time she goes on her trip.
  2. They will have been traveling for a solid week by the time they finally reach the city limits.
  3. He will have been an executive at the corporation for only six months once it closes.

As the Cause of Some Action

Students can also use the future perfect continuous along with another action in the future. In English, this can be a good way to show an example of cause and effect.

  1. Miriam will be exhausted once she gets back to her apartment because she will have been exercising for almost two hours.
  2. Edward’s French will be exceptional once he returns from studying abroad because he will have studied it for five years by that point.
  3. Danny will be walking by the time he's one because he will have been practicing at kindergarten.
  4. Frankie and Deborah will have been traveling for 2 years by the time they come back to live in Chicago.

Rules for Forming the Future Perfect Continuous Tense

The basic rules for creating a future perfect progressive sentence are relatively straightforward. To do so, students just need to use will have been and link it with a present participle. Before we go further, it is important to understand that some sentences may have the phrase be going to followed by future action. This is another example of the future perfect continuous, and students can usually use these two forms interchangeably to create the mechanics of this tense.


Subject + will + have + been + verb + ing

  1. I will have taken these courses for two years already once I finish my degree.
  2. She will have gone to the shops by the time the guests arrive.
  3. They are going to have been stuck on this train for three hours by the time they fix it.


Will + not + have been + verb + ing

  1. Sally won't have been driving last week because she's sick.
  2. She will not have been cooking.
  3. I won't have been practicing yoga for 3 months.


  1. Will Sally have been driving last week?
  2. Will she have been cooking?
  3. Will you have been practicing yoga?

Future Perfect Continuous Flashcards

Teachers and students can use these future perfect continuous examples flashcards to study and recap the future perfect continuous.

Future Perfect Continuous Quiz

Test your understanding with this future perfect continuous mini quiz.

1. My dad __________ traveling for three days by the time I see him.

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers

2. Will you _______ practicing by the time I get back?

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers

3. He will have been _________ the guitar for ten years when he picks up his award.

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers


To wrap up, teachers can remind students that future perfect continuous expressions aren’t something they can combine with time clauses. This means that we cannot use them with sentences that start with expressions of time. Examples might include when, before, or while at the beginning of sentences. We also cannot use verbs that are not in the continuous with continuous tenses.