future perfect progressive (verb tense)

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

The pattern for forming the future perfect progressive tense in English.


A verb construction (made up of will/shall + have been + a present participle) that points to an ongoing future activity that occurs before another activity. Also called the future perfect continuous.

The future perfect progressive tense is rarely used in either formal or informal English. Indeed, as Radden and Dirven observe in Cognitive English Grammar (2007), "The future perfect progressive is all but non-existent in authentic English."

See Examples and Observations below. Also see:

Examples and Observations:

  • "To have a goal is the important thing, and to work toward it. Then, if you decide you wish to do something different, you will at least have been moving, you will have been going somewhere, you will have been learning."
    (Louis L'Amour, The Lonesome Gods, 1983)
  • As of tomorrow, I will have been living in Chicago for 20 years.
  • "By the age of 10 some children will have been trying to cope with doubts and worries about friendships for quite a while."
    (Rebecca Bergese, Understanding 10-11-Year-Olds.  Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008).   
  • "I shall not be very busy at that time, as I shall have been working continuously all the spring."
    (Bertrand Russell, Autobiography, 1951)
  • "By the year 2021, urban depopulation will have been replaced by a net growth, year on year, in the number of people living in our towns and cities. In particular, people will have been moving from the outskirts back to the inner urban districts."
    (The Urban Task Force, chaired by Lord Rogers of Riverside, Towards an Urban Renaissance. Taylor & Francis, 2002)
  • Forming the Future Perfect Progressive
    Future perfect progressive
    tense indicates an ongoing event that will be completed by a certain point in the future:
    The party will have been going for ages by the time we arrive.
    In just half an hour from now, we will have been working for 14 hours straight.
    The pattern for forming future progressive tense is as follows:
    will have been + present participle
    To form the negative, place not between the auxiliaries will and have. To form a question, move will to the beginning of the sentence, in front of the subject:
    They will have been preparing the food.
    Will they have been preparing the food?
    They will not have been preparing the food.
    (Jeffrey Coghill and Stacy Magedanz, English Grammar. Wiley, 2003)
  • The Meaning of the Future Prefect Progressive
    "The future perfect progressive, formed with will + have + been and a present participle, expresses an action that will continue into the future up to a specific time. The duration of the action is usually specified in a time expression with for. The point at which the action will be complete often is stated in the simple present tense in a subordinate clause introduced by when or by the time (that), as in (68a).
    (68)a. He will have been studying and practicing medicine for over ten years when he finally completes his residency next month.
    b. By March, we will have been using the new system for a full year.
    The future perfect progressive tends not to be used much in either spoken or written English."
    (Ron Cowan, The Teacher's Grammar of English: A Course Book and Reference Guide. Cambridge Univversity Press, 2008)