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.
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:
|I will finish my studies.|
I will get a job.
I will get married.
I will buy a car….
Draw a timeline:
Write an example of the future tense on the board:
- By the time I am 40, I will have finished my studies.
Ask them to notice how the future perfect is formed:
|WILL + HAVE + PAST PARTICIPLE|
- 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 simple||Future perfect|
|I will finish my studies this year||By 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:
|I will not have finished my studies||Will you have finished your studies?|
Ask students to complete the following table:
|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
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
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.
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:
|When||What to do?|
|do the washing|
take out trash
buy birthday card
have lunch with my sister.
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 the trash by half past ten tomorrow.
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…