Future Perfect Continuous Tense – Uses & Worksheet

All good writers know that verbs have tenses that show when the action or state of being occurs. For instance, all future tenses show future action. But what if it’s in the perfect continuous form? What is the future perfect continuous tense? I know it’s so easy to get all these tenses mixed up.

This lesson is about the definition and uses of the future perfect continuous tense. Learn the verb tense’s structures and functions, then answer the worksheet I provided.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

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In our English grammar, the future perfect continuous or future perfect progressive is a verb tense that describes actions that continue up until a certain future time.

Consider this sentence below.

  • In 20 years, I will have been working at a law firm.

Remember that perfect verb tenses emphasize the completion of the action, while continuous verb tenses describe ongoing actions or actions that continue over a period of time.

This verb tense is a mixture of both in the future form by using the verb phrase will have been with the present participle form of the verb. The present participle is the base form of the verb with an -ing ending.

Here are some future perfect progressive tense examples in sentences.

  • You will have been traveling for three days.
  • The laptops will not have been operating for three hours.
  • Will you have been playing tennis?

What Is the Future Perfect Progressive Form?

There are several perfect progressive future forms when writing sentences.

The formula of future perfect continuous tense for affirmative sentences is:

  • Subject + will have been + present participle form of the verb.

For example:

  • She will have been living in New York for ten years at that point.

For negative sentences, the future perfect progressive tense structure is:

  • Subject + will + not + have been + present participle.

For example:

  • She will not have been living in New York for five years at that point.

Question sentences follow a different formula.

  • Will + subject + have been + present participle.

For example:

  • Will she have been living in New York for ten years at that point?

Passive forms for this verb tense are more complicated.

  • Subject + will have been + being + past participle.

For example:

  • The bill will have been being calculated by the cashier for one minute by the time the food arrives.

When to Use the Future Perfect Progressive Tense

Let’s look at the uses of the future perfect progressive tense. I always learn better through examples, so hopefully, these will help you better understand, too.

Duration Before a Point in the Future

The future perfect progressive tense highlights the duration of time before something in the future. In other words, the perfect action will be done any time before another point in the future.

The future point can mark the end of the progressive activity, making it a perfect activity. But it sometimes does not necessarily indicate that the continuous activity will end at that point.

Some time expressions you can use with this verb tense are for five days, since Friday, and for three hours.

Here are some examples of sentences.

  • She will have been answering the activities for thirty minutes by the time I get home.
  • Scientists will have been inventing the time machine by the time we reach the new millennium.

The time expression in the first sentence is for thirty minutes, emphasizing the duration. You might also notice that the reference points are in the simple present tense. That’s because you cannot use future tenses in time clauses.

Cause of Something in the Future

The future perfect progressive verb tense is one of the several types of verb tenses we use when showing another action in the future to indicate cause and effect.

For example:

  • I will be pleased when I get home because I will have been walking 10,000 steps.
  • My French will be excellent once I return to the US because I will have been studying in France for two years.

Adverb Placement

You can use always, only, never, and other words for this verb tense. But make sure to observe proper placement for grammar adverbs. For example:

  • Incorrect: You will have been waiting only for a few minutes when the bus arrives.

Correct: You will only have been waiting for a few minutes when the bus arrives.

When Not to Use the Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Do not use this verb tense with stative verbs or any non-continuous action. Examples of stative verbs include have, seem, prefer, agree, believe, and know. Some mixed verbs with non-continuous meanings are also not used in the future perfect progressive tense. For example:

  • Incorrect: I will have been having my dinner for a few minutes.
  • Correct: I will have had my dinner for a few minutes.

Future Perfect Continuous vs. Future Continuous

Do not confuse the future perfect progressive tense with the future continuous tense. The future continuous tense shows interrupted actions, whereas the future perfect progressive tense highlights the duration of time before something in the future.

For example:

  • Future perfect continuous: I will have been watching TV by the time you bathe.
  • Future continuous: I will be tired because I will be exercising.

But in some cases, you can use the two verb tenses interchangeably because the future perfect progressive tense sometimes does not refer to actions that end completely. For example:

  • Future perfect continuous: I will have been taking my medicine when the doctor arrives. (You can remove the time element)

Future continuous: I will be taking my medicine when the doctor arrives.

Use the Future Perfect Continuous Tense Wisely

This grammar lesson has shown you the future perfect progressive forms and uses. Remember that this verb tense shows the cause of something in the future and the duration before something in the future. Do not use it with non-continuous verbs or nonaction verbs.

There are eleven other English verb tenses you need to master. Which one do you wish to learn next?

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