Future Perfect Tense - Learn the Meaning, Definition, Formula, Structure and Uses with Examples

In the English language, the perfect tenses such as the present perfect tense, the past perfect tense and the future perfect tense are used to represent actions that happen within a particular time frame. In this article, you will learn the meaning, definition, formula, structure and uses of the future perfect tense. Furthermore, the article provides you with a number of examples and practice questions to help you learn better.

Table of Contents

What is the Future Perfect Tense?

The future perfect tense is a tense form that can be used to represent an action or event that will be over within a particular time in the future. The action referred to in the future perfect tense has an end date or time.

Given below are a few definitions of the future perfect tense as put forth by various dictionaries.

Definition of the Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect tense, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as “the form of the verb that is used to show that an action will have been performed by a particular time.” According to the Collins Dictionary, the future perfect tense is defined as one “denoting a tense of verbs describing an action that will have been performed by a certain time.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the future perfect tense as a tense “relating to, or constituting a verb tense that is traditionally formed in English with will have and shall have and that expresses completion of an action by a specified time that is yet to come.” According to the Britannica Dictionary, the future perfect tense is “a verb tense that is used to refer to an action that will be completed by a specified time in the future.”

Structure and Formula of the Future Perfect Tense

If you are wondering how to use the future perfect tense, here is the answer. Knowing the general formula with which you can structure your sentences in the future perfect tense is what will help you. Here is the formula of the future perfect tense.

Subject + Helping verbs (will + have) + Past participle form of the main verb + the rest of the sentence.

In addition to learning the formula, analysing the structure of sentences when used in the positive, negative, interrogative and negative interrogative formats. Look at the table below for reference.

Structure of the Future Perfect Tense

Positive

Negative

Interrogative

Negative Interrogative

Subject + will + have + past participle + the rest of the sentence

Subject + will + not + have + past participle + the rest of the sentence

Will + subject + have + past participle + the rest of the sentence

Will + subject + not + have + past participle + the rest of the sentence

(or)

Won’t + subject + have + past participle + the rest of the sentence

Examples:

  • I will have dressed up by the time you reach home.
  • You will have dressed up by the time they reach home.
  • He will have dressed up by the time you reach home.
  • She will have dressed up by the time you reach home.
  • They will have dressed up by the time you reach home.

Examples:

  • I will not have dressed up by the time you reach home.
  • You will not have dressed up by the time they reach home.
  • He will not have dressed up by the time you reach home.
  • She will not have dressed up by the time you reach home.
  • They will not have dressed up by the time you reach home.

Examples:

  • Will I have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Will you have dressed up by the time they reach home?
  • Will he have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Will she have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Will they have dressed up by the time you reach home?

Examples:

  • Will I not have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Will you not have dressed up by the time they reach home?
  • Will he not have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Will she not have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Will they not have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Won’t I have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Won’t you have dressed up by the time they reach home?
  • Won’t he have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Won’t she have dressed up by the time you reach home?
  • Won’t they have dressed up by the time you reach home?

Points to Remember When Using the Future Perfect Tense

Always keep in mind that the future perfect tense can be formed using two auxiliary verbs (will and have) followed by the past participle of the main verb. For example: They will have reached the station by eight in the morning. Also, like you know, the past participle form of the verb can be formed by adding ‘ed’ to the end of the verb. However, this is not always the case. Irregular verbs take different spelling patterns when used as a past participle. Check out the article on irregular verbs for a detailed explanation and list of verbs and their past participles.

Adverbs that can be used with the Future Perfect Tense

Since the future perfect tense should always have a time frame, you need to know what kind of adverbs can be used to indicate the time frame. Given below is the list of adverbs.

  • Before
  • By the time
  • By (a specific time)
  • When
  • After
  • By (date/year)
  • By then
  • Until
  • By the end of
  • Till
  • By the year 2022

Uses of the Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect tense can be used when you want to speak about,

  • An action or event that will be over before a certain time in the future.
  • An action or event that will be over before another event in the future.

It is also used to express a conviction about something that will happen at a certain time in the future.

Simple Future Tense Vs Future Perfect Tense

For most English language learners, there is always a confusion of whether to use the simple future tense or the future perfect tense. Well, that confusion ends now. Look at the table below to learn the difference between the two tenses.

Simple Future Tense

Future Perfect Tense

Used when you want to speak about an action or event that will take place at some time in the future.

Used when you want to speak about an action or event that will take place at a certain time in the future before another action or event.

Can be used to refer to actions that happen in the future.

Can be used to show the sequence of events or actions that happen before a specific time in the future clearly. Also to speak about an action that happens before another action in the future.

Example: Diana will reach home on Monday.

Example: Diana will have reached home by Monday.

Examples of the Future Perfect Tense

Here are a few examples to show you how to use the future perfect tense in sentences.

Referring to an action or event will be over within a certain time in the future

  • Harry will have planted all the saplings in the garden by 4 p. m.
  • Lakshmi will have arrived by then.

Referring to an action or event which will happen before another action or event in the future

  • The train will have left by the time you reach the station.
  • The children are very smart. They will have learnt how to do it by themselves before we appoint someone else to teach them.

Making a conviction about something that will or will not happen at a time in the future

  • I don’t think Mithuna will have cleaned the house completely by the time we reach.
  • Karishma and her friends will not have finished their work by Monday considering how things are going on now.

Test Your Understanding of the Future Perfect Tense

Fill in the blanks with the right form of the future perfect tense in the following sentences:

1. Mom ______________ (cook) our favourite meal since we are going home after a really long time.

2. I think all the plants ________________ (grow) before I return.

3. Sindhu _____________ (forget – negative) anything by now.

4. __________ you ___________ (complete – interrogative) the invitations before 7 p.m.

5. He ________________ (learn) all the songs by heart before anyone else does.

6. Do you think Karl _______________ (find) all the answers to the questions you gave him by now?

7. I guess I ___________ (finish) my painting by Monday.

8. All our relatives ___________ (arrive) at the hotel in the morning.

9. ________ they ___________ (paint – negative interrogative) the house before the guests arrived?

10. We ___________________ (meet) the Principal before noon.

Check if you have used the future perfect tense correctly from the answers given below.

1. Mom will have cooked our favourite meal since we are going home after a really long time.

2. I think all the plants will have grown before I return.

3. Sindhu will not have forgotten anything by now.

4. Will you have completed the invitations before 7 p.m.

5. He will have learnt all the songs by heart before anyone else does.

6. Do you think Karl will have found all the answers to the questions you gave him by now?

7. I guess I will have finished my painting by Monday.

8. All our relatives will have arrived at the hotel in the morning.

9. Won’t they have painted the house before the guests arrived?

10. We will have met the Principal before noon.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Future Perfect Tense

What is the future perfect tense?

The future perfect tense is a tense form that can be used to represent an action or event that will be over within a particular time in the future. The action referred to in the future perfect tense has an end date or time.

What is the definition of the future perfect tense?

The future perfect tense, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is defined as “the form of the verb that is used to show that an action will have been performed by a particular time.” According to the Collins Dictionary, the future perfect tense is defined as one “denoting a tense of verbs describing an action that will have been performed by a certain time.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the future perfect tense as a tense “relating to, or constituting a verb tense that is traditionally formed in English with will have and shall have and that expresses completion of an action by a specified time that is yet to come.” According to the Britannica Dictionary, the future perfect tense is “a verb tense that is used to refer to an action that will be completed by a specified time in the future.”

What is the formula of the future perfect tense?

The future perfect tense can be used accurately with the formula given below.
Subject + Helping verbs (will + have + been) + Past participle form of the main verb + the rest of the sentence.

What are the uses of the future perfect tense?

The future perfect tense can be used when you want to speak about an action or event
that will be over before a certain time in the future or one that will be over before another
event in the future. It can also used to express a conviction about something that will
happen at a certain time in the future.

Give some examples of the future perfect tense.

Here are a few examples of the future perfect tense to help you.

  • Harry will have planted all the saplings in the garden by 4 p. m.
  • The children are very smart. They will have learnt how to do it by themselves before we appoint someone else to teach them.
  • Karishma and her friends will not have finished their work by Monday considering how things are going on now.

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