The first thing you should understand about the future perfect and future simple is their structures. To form the future simple we use the word ‘will’ followed by an infinitive without ‘to’. For example “I will go to the party tonight” or “You will have a class tomorrow”. This is pretty easy, isn´t it? We simply put the word ‘will’ before the infinitive and we are speaking in the future simple tense.
The structure of the future perfect is a little more complicated than the future simple. To form the future perfect tense we use the words ‘will have’ followed by the past participle of a verb. For example, “We will have studied stage 4 by March” or “She will have eaten dinner before nine o’ clock”.
The second thing that we must understand about these tenses is when we use them. We use the future simple for an action that will happen at a particular time in the future. For example, “I will go to the supermarket tomorrow” or “He will eat his lunch after work”. These actions will happen at specific times in the future.
We use the future perfect when we are thinking about the time before and up to a particular point in the future. For example, “I will have painted the room by the time she gets home” or “we will have finished the job at eight o’ clock”. The first sentence means that when she gets home we will already be finished painting the room. The second sentence means that at eight o’clock the job will already be finished, perhaps we will finish it at seven o’ clock or half past seven, it´s not important, the important point is that at eight o’ clock the job will be finished.
You can think about the future perfect as a tense that we use when we want to communicate that an action will happen at some time between one point and another point in the future. For example, if I have not had dinner yet but I know I will have it before ten o’ clock tonight then I can say “I will have eaten dinner at ten o’ clock tonight”. This means that I will start and finish eating dinner before ten o’ clock tonight and at that time dinner will be finished.
You can also think about the future perfect as a tense that we use when we want to communicate the duration of an action up to a particular point in the future. For example, “I will have lived in this place for five years at the end of the month”. That means that I have not lived in this place for five years yet, but at the end of the month it will be five years since I began living in this place. We are thinking about a particular time in the future and how long an action will have been in progress at that time. Another example of this is “we will have studied at this school for three months at the end of this course”. This means that we haven’t studied at this school for three months yet but when the course finishes it will be three months since we started studying at this school.
Another use of the future perfect tense is when there are two actions which are both in the future and one action happens before the other. For example, “We will have gone to bed when you get home tonight”. This means that we will go to bed before you get home and when you get home we will be in bed. The action of going to bed will happen before the action of getting home. Another example of this is “I will have cleaned the house by the time they get home”. This means that the house has not been completely cleaned yet but it will be done before they get home. The action of cleaning the house will be completed before they arrive home.
It is important to know the difference between the future simple tense and the future perfect tense. With the help of this blog, you should now practise both tenses.
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