Using the French Future Perfect Tense

Grammaire: Futur antérieur

Portrait of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France.
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The French future perfect is most commonly used like the English future perfect: to describe an action that will have happened or will be finished by a specific point in the future.

French Future Perfect

J'aurai mangé à midi. I will have eaten at noon.
Quand tu arriveras, il l'aura déjà fait. When you arrive, he will already have done it.
Elle lui aura parlé demain. She will have talked to him (by) tomorrow.
Dans un mois, nous serons partis. In a month, we will have left.

There are three uses of the French future perfect that don't correspond to the English future perfect:

  • In subordinate clauses that begin with the conjunctions aussitôt que, dès que, lorsque, quand, une fois que, and après que, the future perfect is used to express a future action which will be completed before the action in the main clause. In English, a present tense or past tense would be used here:
Quand je serai descendu, tu pourras me le montrer. When I have come down, you can show it to me.
Nous le ferons aussitôt qu'elle sera arrivée. We'll do it as soon as she arrives / has arrived.
  • The future perfect can make simple assumptions regarding past events, where the English modal verb "must" would be used in conjunction with the past perfect:
Pierre n'est pas ici ; il aura oublié. Pierre isn't here; he must have forgotten.
Luc est heureux ; il aura gagné. Luc is happy; he must have won.
  • In historical narratives, the events of a person's life can be described with the future perfect even though those events have long since passed. In English, these might be translated by a past tense or conditional:
Napoléon aura pris une décision importante. Napoleon made / would make an important decision.
George Sand aura écrit le roman La Mare au Diable en quatre jours. George Sand wrote / would go on to write the novel "La Mare au Diable" in four days.

The French future perfect is a compound conjugation, which means it has two parts:

  1. future of the auxiliary verb (either avoir or être)
  2. past participle of the main verb

Note: Like all French compound conjugations, the future perfect may be subject to grammatical agreement:

  • When the auxiliary verb is être, the past participle must agree with the subject.
  • When the auxiliary verb is avoir, the past participle may have to agree with its direct object.

French Future Perfect Conjugations 

Aimer (auxiliary verb is avoir)
j' aurai aimé nous aurons aimé
tu auras aimé vous aurez aimé
aura aimé ils,
auront aimé
Devenir (être verb)
je serai devenu(e) nous serons devenu(e)s
tu seras devenu(e) vous serez devenu(e)(s)
il sera devenu ils seront devenus
elle sera devenue elles seront devenues
Se laver (pronominal verb)
je me serai lavé(e) nous nous serons lavé(e)s
tu te seras lavé(e) vous vous serez lavé(e)(s)
il se sera lavé ils se seront lavés
elle se sera lavée elles se seront lavées
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Team, ThoughtCo. "Using the French Future Perfect Tense." ThoughtCo, Dec. 6, 2021, Team, ThoughtCo. (2021, December 6). Using the French Future Perfect Tense. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "Using the French Future Perfect Tense." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2023).

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