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Future Perfect Continuous Tense: Definition, Structure, and Usage

The future perfect continuous, also known as the future progressive tense, shows actions that will continue until another point in the future. It is important to include a time reference so your audience knows how long the action has been happening. 

  • You will have been traveling for three days.
  • The laptops will not have been operating for three hours.

How Do You Form the Future Perfect Continuous Tense?

This verb tense is a combination of the future tense and the continuous form. It uses the verb phrase “will have been,” followed by the present participle form of the main verb (the verb base with an -ing ending).

The Future Perfect Continuous Tense Formula

The most common use of the future perfect continuous tense is in positive sentences, where the object receives the action. It is important to include a time-related reference. 

The formula to create the future perfect continuous sentence is:

  • Subject + will have been + present participle verb

Examples: 

  • She will have been studying in college for three years by that point. 
  • They will have been traveling cross-country for three days once they arrive. 

Like most passive forms, the passive form of the future perfect progressive tense can sound awkward and complicated. Try to avoid its use unless necessary. 

The formula to create a passive future perfect continuous sentence is:

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

For example:

  • The bill will have been being calculated by the cashier for as long as it takes to get your coat to leave. 

The Future Perfect Continuous Tense Question Formula

The formula to create an interrogative future perfect continuous sentence is:

  • Will + subject + have been + present participle

For example:

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

The Future Perfect Continuous Tense Negative Formula

The formula to create a negative future perfect continuous sentence is:

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

For example:

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

What Are the Uses of the Future Perfect Continuous Tense?

Like other perfect continuous tenses, the future perfect continuous tense can sound strange and confusing if used incorrectly or too often. Consider the following scenarios when deciding to use the future perfect continuous tense.

Use the future perfect continuous tense to express:

  1. A Duration Before a Point in the Future

The future perfect continuous tense highlights the length of time before something happens in the future. Time references should be in the simple present tense.

In other words, the ongoing action will continue up to another point in the future.

For example: 

  • She will have been answering the activities for thirty minutes when I get home.
  • Scientists will have been exploring space for over 75 years by the time my son completes his astronaut training.
  1. A Cause of Something in the Future

Use the future perfect continuous tense to show a future result of an ongoing action. This is used 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 when I return to the US because I will have been studying in France for two years.