What Is Future Perfect Tense? With Examples

Want to learn the future perfect tense? The future perfect tense describes actions that will happen or be finished at some point in the future. This future perfect guide has some helpful tips for elementary, middle schoolers, and ESL learners with flashcards and a checkpoint quiz.

future perfect definition and example

How Do You Use Future Perfect?

The future perfect speaks of past actions in the future. When we use the future perfect, we are projecting ourselves, or whatever subject into the future. The actions they do will be complete by the time we reach the point in the future that we’re referencing in our present.

  1. You will have arrived at the location by the time the meeting starts later.
  2. He won’t have made it to the station by the time the train has left.
  3. She will have finished the assignment by tomorrow night.
  4. They won’t have finished the construction work by the end of the week.
  5. You will have finished school by June.

Grammar Rules Table

  1. The future perfect tense often pairs the subject with auxiliary verbs. The verbs will and have are the most common ones we might use to construct this tense, and we may attach the subject to both of these verbs to form will have followed by the action.
  2. This tense is full of verbs, however, and we follow up our linking verb or verbs with a main verb. The main verb for a sentence expressing the future tense will be in its past participle form. We can look at some examples to further illustrate this point.

Affirmative Subject +will +have +past participle
Negative Subject +will +not +past participle
Interrogative Will subject +have +past participle +?

Future Perfect Tense Flashcards

See if you can make a future perfect tense examples using the words on the front. Flip the flashcards for our examples.

How do You Form Sentences in The Future Perfect

  1. Students only need to remember a couple of simple things when it comes to making the future perfect. It involves the verb to have, but we change it to the future version of itself. Thus, it becomes will have. Unlike in the present, the form of will have must stay the same with all subjects students might use.
  2. The second part involves forming the correct ending for the regular verbs that work with the linking one. Because we are talking about an action that should already be complete in the future time about which we are speaking, regular verb forms here will use the -ed ending. For this tense, we call this the third form of the verb. It is easy to master regular verbs, as students can see in the examples like worked, studied, played, or cooked.

However, irregular verbs can also take the third form to help form the future perfect tense. These are words that students will need to learn and commit to memory. Although it may be tricky at first, they should find that they can master this list of words quickly with enough use.

  1. I will have written my thesis by next year.
  2. He will have done the laundry by tomorrow night.
  3. She will have spoken to the teacher by tomorrow.

These are all affirmatives that we can form by starting with a subject, including the will have verb form, and ending with a regular or irregular verb in its third form.

Forming the Future Perfect Tense for Interrogatives

We can also use the future perfect to ask questions about things that should be completed later. However, in order to do this properly, we need to change the structure of the future sentence slightly. We still need to use the proper tenses and forms for the verbs; these are static rules we’ve discussed already. However, we must alter the word order a bit for the interrogative.

  1. Will they have finished the assignment by the due date?
  2. Will you have given the speech by the second day of the conference?
  3. Will he have brought the items from the store by later tonight?

Using the Future and the Past

Finally, you can use the future perfect tense to talk about how likely it is that some event already occurred in the past. We do this to talk about events that have already finished by the time we are in the present moment.

  1. Someone will have seen you eavesdropping at the event.
  2. You will have noticed that we no longer stock those books.
  3. She will have talked about it.

Future Perfect Quiz

Think you've got it? Check your understanding with this future perfect quiz. Got a question wrong? Press reset and try again.

1. Will you ______ arrived by 9am?

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers

2. You ______ received the bill by tomorrow.

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers

3. Sally and Tom were exhausted. By the time they get home, they ______ slept for 36 hours.

Choose the best answer from the choices below

Possible answers

Conclusion

As we conclude, it is important that students understand a key difference between a tense like future perfect and that of future simple. We use the future simple in English to express that something will happen at a later date. Conversely, we use future perfect to emphasize that the action will be over at a particular point in the future. Similarly, future continuous emphasizes that the action will be ongoing until a particular point in the future.