Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Future Perfect Continuous Tense – Definition and Concept

We have already defined the tense of the verb as the time of occurrence or execution of the verb with respect to the time of making the statement. One of the three tenses of the verb is the future tense, which is further classified into four types.

The Future Perfect Continuous tense is that tense of the verb which is used when the verb has partially occurred or shows partial execution and continuity after the time in which the statement is being made. A few examples below:

  • The union will have been meeting here for 5 years this weekend.
  • She will have been performing to her potential.
  • Tomorrow, I will have been expecting a full house at the multiplex for the third time.

In this article, we explore this tense in detail.

At the end of this article, the reader should be able to:

  • Understand the basic idea of Future Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Understand Subject-Verb agreement for the Future Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Understand the influence of auxiliaries and modals on Subject-Verb agreement
  • Study Future Perfect Continuous Tense in the Passive Voice
  • Learn the Negative forms of sentences in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense
  • Study the Interrogative forms of sentences in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

As we’ve discussed above, the Future Perfect Continuous tense is that tense of the verb which is used when the verb has partially occurred or shows partial execution and continuity after the time of the statement. Let us take a few more examples to understand the idea:

  • The board will have been suspecting that you’re delusional by tomorrow.
  • I will have been coming the dormitory quite a few times by this weekend.
  • By tomorrow, the guests will have been staying at the apartment for a week.

In each of the examples, we note how the verb shows the state of action or being of the noun or pronoun as partially executed after the time of the statement. Thus all of the verbs in these examples are in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense.

Subject Verb Agreement (Noun-Verb agreement)

In the Future Perfect Continuous Tense, Subject-Verb agreement is where we learn the general form of the verb for different nouns and pronouns. Since we have three persons (first, second and third) and two numbers (singular and plural) we study the different forms of the verb for all the six combinations:

First Person

  • I will have been stopping by your place before you wake up. (First person singular)
  • I will have been taking all the readings for a long time. (First person singular)
  • We will have been evaluating their arguments after the break. (First person plural)
  • We will have been witnessing a big contest here tomorrow. (First person plural)

In each of the examples above, we see that the Future Perfect Continuous tense of verbs usually take the Present participle form of the verb along with the past participle been of the auxiliary be, with the same form for both singular and plural first person pronouns, with the root form from the auxiliary have. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

First Person Singular form:

Pronoun + modal + root form of auxiliary (have) + been + Present Participle form of Verb

First Person Plural form:

Pronoun + modal + root form of auxiliary (have) + been + Present Participle form of Verb

Second Person

  • You will have been seeing a therapist even after they recover.
  • You will have been taking the lead in a few months.

In each of the examples above, we see that the Future Perfect Continuous tense of verbs usually take the Present participle form of the verb, with the same form for both singular and plural second person pronouns, along with the root form of the auxiliary. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

Second Person Singular form:

Pronoun + modal + root form of auxiliary (have) + been + Present Participle form of Verb

Second Person Plural form:

Pronoun + modal + root form of auxiliary (have) + been + Present Participle form of Verb

Third Person

Nouns are generally in the third person, while pronouns can be of all persons. So nouns take the same form of the verb as third person pronouns. Examples include:

  • He will have been emerging as a spin bowler for the national side. (Third person singular pronoun)
  • It will have been growing all over the place. (Third person singular pronoun)
  • They will have been bringing the party home next week. (Third person plural pronoun)
  • In two more years The Dalai Lama will have been residing in India for a decade. (Singular noun)
  • These machines presently will have been processing 35 bottles per minute by next month. (Plural noun)

In each of the examples above, we see that the Future Perfect continuous tense of verbs usually take the present participle form of the verb, with the same form for both singular and plural third person pronouns and nouns. The root form of the verb commonly uses the modal ‘will’ or ‘shall’, with other modals used less frequently.

Third Person Singular form:

Noun/Pronoun + modal + root form of auxiliary + been + Present Participle form of Verb

Third Person Plural form:

Noun/Pronoun + modal + root form of auxiliary + been + Present Participle form of Verb

Auxiliaries & Modals [1] used in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense

The root form of the auxiliary have are used with the present participle verb across all forms of nouns and pronouns. We have already understood these forms in the previous section. Let us study these forms in particular now.

Modals however can be used to enhance the meaning of the verb. Upon using a modal with the verb in the Future Perfect form, the auxiliary verb is reduced to its root form have. Let us take a few examples, where we observe the effect of addition of a modal:

  • I will have been taking all the readings for a long time. (First person singular)
  • We will have been witnessing a big contest here tomorrow. (First person plural)
  • You will have been seeing a therapist even after they recover. (Second Person)
  • It will have been growing all over the place. (Third person singular pronoun)
  • They will have been bringing the party home next week. (Third person plural pronoun)
  • In two more years The Dalai Lama will have been residing in India for a decade. (Singular noun)
  • These machines presently will have been processing 35 bottles per minute by next month. (Plural noun)

Each of these modals effectively reduces the auxiliary to the root form have.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense in Passive Voice [2]

A sentence or a verb is in active voice when the subject is the executioner of the verb, while passive voice is when the subject is the recipient of the verb. With a change in voice, all pronouns and nouns take different forms of the verb. We explore that in this section.

From every type of person and number, we pick one example each from the previous sections.

  • Active: We will have been witnessing a big contest here tomorrow. (First person plural)
  • Passive: A big contest will be being witnessed (by us) here tomorrow.
  • Active: Will you have been completing the targets all week?
  • Passive: Will the targets be being completed all week?
  • Active: These machines presently will have been processing 35 bottles per minute by next month. (Plural noun)
  • Passive: 35 bottles will be being processed per minute by next month.

In each of the examples above, the passive form of the verb in the future perfect continuous tense takes the root form be and also the present participle form being. While this is termed as grammatically correct, it is an example of paraphrasing error, which is why many adaptations of the Future Perfect Continuous tense show their corresponding passive force as non-existent.

Interrogative Sentences in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense

Here, we study the rearrangement of words of a sentence with a change in type to interrogative sentences. Let us begin with a few examples from the previous sections:

  • You will have been seeing a therapist even after they recover.
  • She will have been performing to her potential.
  • He will have been emerging as a spin bowler for the national side.
  • It will have been growing all over the place.
  • We will have been witnessing a big contest here tomorrow.

The above sentences make a regular statement or what we call assert. Hence these are examples of assertive sentences. Let us now put these into the interrogative form:

  • Will you have been seeing a therapist even after they recover?
  • Will she have been performing to her potential?
  • Will he have been emerging as a spin bowler for the national side?
  • Will it have been growing all over the place?
  • Will we have been witnessing a big contest here tomorrow?

The Observations:

Since modal verbs are mandatorily used with verbs in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense, we observe that all verbs in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense are in the past participle form, even in their interrogative forms.

Thus the different interrogative forms of assertive sentences use the following formation:

Modal + Subject Noun/Pronoun + Root form of Auxiliary + been + Present Participle form of Verb

Negative Sentences in Future Perfect Continuous Tense

What happens when we change the form of assertive sentences from positive to negative form?

Let us take the examples above again:

  • You will have been seeing a therapist even after they recover.
  • She will have been performing to her potential.
  • He will have been emerging as a spin bowler for the national side.
  • It will have been growing all over the place.
  • We will have been witnessing a big contest here tomorrow.

When we convert them into the negative form, we get:

  • You will not have been seeing a therapist even after they recover.
  • She will not have been performing to her potential.
  • He will not have been emerging as a spin bowler for the national side.
  • It will not have been growing all over the place.
  • We will not have been witnessing a big contest here tomorrow.

The Observations:                                             

Since modal verbs are mandatorily used with verbs in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense, we observe that all verbs in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense are in the past participle form, even in their negative forms.

Thus the different negative forms of assertive sentences use the following formation:

Subject Noun/Pronoun + modal + not + auxiliary (root form) + been + Present Participle form of Verb

Conclusion

This concludes the discussion on the Future Perfect Continuous Tense.

Notes

[1] The use of modals on verbs (other than will and shall, which are explicitly used to indicate future tense) in the Future Tenses creates confusion about the tense of the sentence. Note the examples in the discussion on modals. The addition of a modal reduces the verb from Future form to root form and thus the sentence resembles their present tense equivalent.

This means that the sentence takes the Simple Present form (with modal) if initially expressed in Simple Future form (without modal), Present Continuous form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Continuous form (without modal), Present Perfect form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Perfect form (without modal), and Present Perfect Continuous form (with modal) if initially expressed in Future Perfect Continuous form (without modal).

Readers can verify the above statement by comparing the section on modals of the articles on the corresponding forms of Present and Future Tense, especially the examples of sentences after the implementation of modals other than will and shall.

Thus in situations like these, the role of adverbs becomes quite important, as they are the determiner of the tense of these sentences. Sometimes, even after the use of adverbs, the tense of the sentence is left ambiguous. In that case, irrespective of the form of the sentence before the inclusion of modals, we identify these sentences as being in the Present Tense. The subtype of the Present Tense can thereafter be determined by the conventional methods discussed in the articles on Present Tense.

[2] The Perfect Continuous Tense is the combination of both perfect and continuous tense. In the active form, the Continuous form (Present Participle form) of the verb is joined with the Past Participle form of be (been). The passive form, for reasons mentioned in the section above, is logically non-existent.