If you are new here please read this first.
Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself!
If you’re a really diligent English student and you’re into the advanced English grammar stuff, chances are that you’ve learned about the Future Perfect Tenses at some stage and most likely you’ve been using them in your speech.
Just to remind everyone what these Future Perfect Tenses are all about:
- I WILL HAVE finishED writing this article by the noon.
- I WILL HAVE BEEN livING in Ireland for 14 years this August.
The first sample sentence represents the Future Perfect Tense which is formed by using WILL HAVE and the verb adopts the Past Participle form -ED, and the second one is the Future Perfect Progressive Tense where you have to use WILL HAVE BEEN and the verb changes to the Present Participle form -ING.
So far, so good, right?
Well, not really.
In theory, this is how these grammar tenses are formed, and the English grammar book will tell you to use them in situations when you refer to a particular event or an ongoing action that’s going to be finished at some stage in the future.
Except that these tenses aren’t actually used in real life!
If you take a closer look at the previous paragraph where I’m describing the purpose of the Future Perfect Tenses, you’ll notice that I’m not actually using Future Perfect. I’m not saying – “… action that WILL HAVE BEEN finished..”
Instead, I’m opting for something much simpler, something that most native English speakers would go for – “… action that’s GONNA BE finished…”!
Now, am I saying that these Future Perfect Tenses are NEVER used? Am I saying that you shouldn’t bother with them AT ALL?
YES! That’s exactly what I’m getting at, my friend foreign English speaker!
You should avoid using these Future Perfect Tenses at all costs because it will:
- Make your English speech sound unnatural,
- Confuse you when you’re speaking,
- Prevent you from fitting in with native English speakers!
So, would you like to learn how to avoid using Future Perfect and what to use instead?
Well, just keep reading this article, my friends, and I’m going to reveal my best-kept secrets to you!
How to Avoid FUTURE PERFECT
So, just like I said before, the English Grammar book will tell you to use the Future Perfect Tense whenever referring to an action that’s going to be finished at some stage in the future.
So, going by this logic, whenever someone asks you to tell them when you’re planning to finish doing something, you should be using Future Perfect:
“Can I just ask you when you’re planning to have your report done?” – “Well, I WILL HAVE FINISHED my report at 2 PM.”
Even just looking at such a sentence makes me want to throw up!
No native English speaker will say such a thing in real life!
Here’s what natives would say instead:
- “I’ll FINISH my report at 2 PM.” – Simple Future
- “I’m FINISHING my report at 2 PM.” – Present Progressive
- “I’m GONNA FINISH my report at 2 PM.” – GOING TO Future
- “My report IS GONNA BE FINISHED at 2 PM.” – GOING TO Future Passive
- “I’ll BE FINISHED with my report at 2 PM.” – Past Participle used as an Adjective
- “I’m PLANNING TO FINISH my report at 2 PM.” – using the word PLANNING
Now, can you see how many different ways there are of describing when you’re going to finish your report?
And believe me when I say that I’ve NEVER heard a native English speaker use the Future Perfect Tense used in such situations – it’s true, and the reason being that any other way of describing a future deadline is way simpler than the awkward and unnatural Future Perfect!
Native speakers will use any other tense they can starting from Simple Future and ending with GOING TO Future Passive just to avoid using Future Perfect, so please start doing the same thing if you want to sound more native-like when speaking English!
How to Avoid FUTURE PERFECT PROGRESSIVE
This is where it gets even more interesting – welcome to the world of Future Perfect Progressive!
According to the English Grammar rules that some people see as something set in stone, we have to use this grammar tense when referring to a particular point in the future that marks the end of an ongoing action.
So, if I were to follow these rules, I should describe the duration of my current college studies the following way:
“I WILL HAVE BEEN STUDYING for a whole year this May.”
Again, no matter how hard I’m trying to remember such a grammar construct being used in real life, I just can’t!
Here’s what people will say instead:
- “It’s GONNA BE a whole year this May since I’m studying.”
- “It’s GONNA BE a whole year this May since I’ve been studying.”
- “This May MARKS a whole year since I’m studying.”
- “This May MARKS a whole year since I’ve been studying.”
- “The DURATION of my studies IS GONNA be one year this May.”
Do you get the drift, my friends?
People will describe the concept of reaching a specific duration of an activity in any other way imaginable BUT the Future Perfect Progressive tense!
So, just like I said before – if you want to fit in with the natives and improve your fluency, just stop trying to use such unnatural grammar constructs as Future Perfect, and learn to rephrase your speech to make it sound more friendly and easy for the ear!
Why Natives Don’t Use Future Perfect
Well, the explanation is pretty simple and straightforward – Future Perfect just doesn’t roll off the tongue.
For people to say something like “I will have been living in this town for 10 years” would take an awful lot of effort compared to other, easier ways of describing the same concept – “It’s gonna be 10 years since I’m living in this town.”
Yes, I can’t deny that I’ve oftentimes said myself that any difficult grammar construct stops being difficult as soon as you learn it, but the simple fact of the matter is that people just don’t use this grammar construct in real life.
So why should you try and re-invent the wheel?
If even native English speakers don’t use Future Perfect, why should you bother? It’s only going to make you stand out as someone who’s speaking English in a slightly weird way!
Don’t Listen to What Grammar Experts Tell You!
Just like I always do, I conducted a little online research before writing this article.
And I couldn’t believe the amount of bullshit I came across!
There’s dozens upon dozens of websites out there giving you information on English grammar tenses, and as you can imagine, all of them provide sample sentences to go with the theory.
One particular website that I’m not going to mention actually describes Future Perfect in a very in-depth way, and provides plenty of examples and elaborates on all the possible intricacies of Future Perfect such as when it’s to be used, when it’s not to be used and so on.
And guess what?
There wasn’t a single normal sentence on that list!
Every next sentence was more ridiculous than the previous one, which made me ask the question:
“Are those English grammar experts completely out of their mind? It’s obvious to any normal person that such language is totally artificial and isn’t used in real life at all!”
As you can imagine, I don’t want to refer to the actual website and publish the exact sample sentence here to avoid any possible legal action, but I’m just going to try to come up with something similar, just to give you an idea:
“Jodie will have been working in the entertainment industry for 10 years by the time she gets married.”
Here’s the thing – yes, it does look OK in its written form, it’s grammatically correct, but PEOPLE WILL NEVER SAY SUCH A THING in a normal conversation!!!
Here’s how this message would be conveyed in a real-life conversation:
- “When Jodie gets married, it’s gonna be 10 years since she’s been working in the fitness industry.”
or even simpler:
- “When Jodie gets married, she’s gonna have 10 years of fitness industry experience behind her.”
or even simpler yet:
- “It’s gonna be 10 years in the fitness industry for Jodie when she gets married.”
So, don’t fall for the mainstream English grammar advice that will teach you such and similar unnatural grammar constructs.
Yes, they are grammatically correct, but do you really want to sound like reading from a book when speaking with real people in real life?
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!