THE FUTURE PERFECT TENSE
The Future Perfect Tense
This tense is formed with shall/will + perfect infinitive (without to):
shall + have spoken = (We) shall have spoken.
will + have read = (You) will have read.
The future perfect tense is used to express:
I) an action that will be completed at a given time in the future:
- By the end of this year, I shall have read ten novels.
II) an action which at a given time in the future must have ended before another action takes place:
- I shall have finished my degree exams before your next visit.
- You will have cleared the field before tilling the soil.
- By the time the referee comes, Ibe will have run round the field three times.
The Future Perfect Continuous Tense
This tense is formed with shall/will have been + present participle:
shall have been + eating: I shall have been eating.
will have been + dancing: She will have been dancing.
The future perfect continuous tense describes an action, which, though considered already begun at a given future time, will still be in progress by then:
- I shall have been eating my brunch by this time tomorrow.
Future-in-the-Past Tense: (also called Future Simple in the Past Tense)
This tense is made up of should/would + the bare infinitive:
(I/We) should + write = I/We should write.
(He/You/They) would + sing = He/You/They would sing.
The future-in-the-past tense is used to describe:
I) an action that, at a point in past time, still lay in the future:
- I told John that I should visit him the next day.
- Eze said that he would employ her.
II) an action that was supposed/expected to take place at a future time in the past:
- Osondu insisted that I should speak first.
- Ngozi said that she would be given the trophy. (would be given: passive form of future-in-the-past)
III) an action that was intended to take place at some time in the past but probably did not occur:
- I should have been redeployed to the headquarters (passive voice).
- Ezinne thought that she would be invited to the party (passive voice).
- My wife projected that our food stuff would have been exhausted before the next supply came. (But her projection was wrong eventually.)
- We thought that Mr. Okonkwo would marry Ugomma. (But he didn’t marry her after all.)
IV) an action that was expected to occur at a certain future time in the past and it occurred as expected:
- We knew that Ihuoma would pay us a visit some day. (Not surprisingly, therefore, she visited us today.)
- The doctor said that his “AIDS” patient would die (and the patient died soon after).
- I told you that you would be promoted (and you were promoted) – passive voice.
V) improbable condition in if-clause where the action in the if-clause is not expected to happen:
- If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
- If I won the election, I should throw a party.
VI) a gentle advice in an if-clause:
- If I were you, I would repent and save my soul.
- If we were in your position, we would help the poor.
Future-in-the-Past Continuous Tense: (also known as future-continuous-in-the-past)
The future-in-the-past continuous tense is composed of: should/would + be + present participle (… ing)
- We/I should be singing.
- You/He/She/It/They would be eating.
This tense is generally used to express an action that, at a point in past time, was expected/supposed to be going on:
- Mr. Ibe expected that his daughter would be reading when he arrived.
Future Perfect-in-the-Past Tense
This tense is formed with:
Should/would + have + Past participle.
- We/I should have spoken.
- You/She/He/It/They would have gone.
The future perfect-in-the-past tense is used to express an action which was expected to have occurred at an anticipated future time in the remote past if other events had not overtaken it:
- I should have come to your house if you had invited me.
- You would have received an award if you had worked towards it.
- If Obika had not called him back, he would have gone out.
Future Perfect-in-the-Past Continuous Tense
This tense is made up of: should/would + have + been + present participle (… ing)
- We/I should have been reading.
- You/He/She/It/They would have been complaining.
This tense is used to express an action which was supposed/expected to have been happening at a certain future time in the remote past if some other intervening action (s) had not occurred:
- If he had not been made the President’s praise-singer, he would have been campaigning against corruption in the armed forces before the death of the President.