How to Teach the Future Perfect Tense

How to Teach the Future Perfect

This is a lesson plan about how to teach the present perfect. It is designed for advanced learners and is intended to make students notice the form and use of the future perfect.

The activity

Future

Future

Introduce the present perfect tense

Before you’re 40!

Ask students what they will do in the next 20 years. Ask them to complete a table like the following:

Future events
I will finish my studies.
I will get a job.
I will get married.
I will buy a car….

Timeline

Draw a timeline:

The future Perfect Tense

The future Perfect Tense

Write an example of the future tense on the board:

  • By the time I am 40, I will have finished my studies.

Noticing

Ask them to notice how the future perfect is formed:

WILL + HAVE + PAST PARTICIPLE

Ask students

  • whether the action will be done at a specific time in the future,
  • or whether it will be finished by a particular time in the future.

To see the difference, contrast the future simple with the future perfect:

Future simpleFuture perfect
I will finish my studies this yearBy the end of this year I will have finished my studies.

Ask students to give examples of the future perfect tense.

By the time I am 40…
I will have finished my studies.
I will have found a job.
I will have got married.
I will have bought a car.
….

Students should be able to notice that:

the future perfect is used to describe an event that will be finished by a particular time in the future.

Negative and interrogative

Introduce the negative and interrogative forms of the future perfect:

NegativeInterrogative
I will not have finished my studiesWill you have finished your studies?

Ask students to complete the following table:

InterrogativeAffirmativeNegative
Will you have finished your studies by the time you are 40?
Yes, I will have finished my studies by the time I am 40.
No, I will not have finished my studies by the time I am 40.

Practicing the future tense

Drilling

Drill the tense in pair work. Ask students to give the first part of the minimal pair. The second student follows with the second part. Here is an example:

A: By the time I finish my Spanish course.
B: I will have become fluent in Spanish.

By the year 2100

Future Perfect Tense

Future Perfect Tense

Write on the board:

  • What will mankind have achieved by the year 2100?
  • What will have happened?

Students write their ideas:

  • Man will have settled on the moon.
  • Scientists will have discovered new planets.
  • Doctors will have found cures for serious diseases such as AIDS, Cancer…
  • Robots will have replaced humans in so many professions.
  • Man will have found a way to eradicate poverty.

Personalization

To-do-lists

The best way to transfer the knowledge students have just acquired about the future perfect is to use a to-do-list activity. Students write down things they have to do tomorrow. Ask them to complete a table like the following:

WhenWhat to do?
8:30
10:00
10:15
11:30
12:00
14:00
do the washing
take out trash
buy birthday card
pay bills
have lunch with my sister.
sort mail

Then, ask students to write sentences about what they will have done by the end of the day:

  • I will have done the washing by 10 o’clock tomorrow.
  • I will have taken out trash by half pas ten tomorrow.

Follow up

Things you should have done before you die

Ask students to write a paragraph about five important things they will have achieved by the time they reach 75.

They may start like this:

By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a happy life. I will have loved…

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5 Responses

  1. Mari says:

    Sorry but is it ok to say What will you have happened by …. I think it’s. what will hace happened ….?

  2. MOHAMMED RHALMI says:

    Hi Mary,
    The typo was corrected. Thanks!

  3. greg says:

    This sentence appears to be wrong:

    “By the end of this year I will you have finished my studies.”

  4. MOHAMMED RHALMI says:

    Sorry again Greg!

    The mistake was corrected

  5. Naomi says:

    amazing!
    it helps me a lot as a teacher!
    thanks 🙂

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