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By That Time, I Will Have Gone There

Lesson Topic: Writing New Year's Resolutions Using the Future Perfect

To begin the new year, we thought we would begin by giving you ideas on how to write successful New Year's resolutions.  A New Year's resolution is a goal you set for yourself that you want to accomplish during the upcoming year. 

The grammar often used to set New Year's resolutions is the future perfect.

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The future perfect is used to express an activity that will be done and finished before another time or event in the future.  For example,

situation sentence with future perfect explanation
I will go to California in May.  I will talk to you in June.   By the time I talk to you, I will have gone to California. In other words, when I talk to you, I will have already gone to California.

Here's a timeline to help you easily understand it.

Timeline of events of above situation

 

now

 

May

  June    
      I will go to California.   I will talk to you.    
Sentence with future perfect: By the time I talk to you, I will have gone to California.

When I talk to you in June (the second event), I will have gone to California (the future event that will be completed BEFORE I talk to you).

So, how do we form the future perfect? We suggest that when you are learning to make the future perfect, first think of 2 future events that will not happen at the same time.  Using the following 2 events, let's make a timeline as we did above.  For example, let's say our 2 future events are

  • at 4:00, I will see the doctor.
  • at 6:00, I will come home.

Timeline of events of above situation

 

now

 

4:00pm

  6:00pm    
      I will see the doctor.   I will come home.    

A common phrase used with the future perfect is by the time By the time means beforeBy the time is attached to the LATER (SECOND) event.  Therefore, we write

By the time I come home

Notice that we removed the word will

Now we put the FIRST event in the future perfect by adding have/has and by using the past participle form of the verb.

I will have seen the doctor.

 

Finally, combine these two events.

 

By the time I come home, I will have seen the doctor.

You may also switch these two ideas (clauses) as follows:

I will have seen the doctor by the time I come home.

You may also use the word before instead of the phrase by the time:

Before I come home, I will have seen the doctor.

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Quiz

Directions: For each situation there are 2 future events.  Combine the 2 future events by using the future perfect.  Use before or by the time.  The first 5 are new year's resolutions.  There may be more than one answer.

1.  First event: I will stop smoking.

     Second event: Spring will arrive.

2.  First event: I will lose 25 pounds.

     Second event: I will see you in the summer.

3.  First event: I will learn to cook.

     Second event: I will make my family a gourmet meal.

4.  First event: I will apply to college.

     Second event: July will come.

5.  First event: I will write a new résumé on MyEnglishTeacher.net.

     Second event: The end of January will come.

6.  First event: She will finish her Ph.D. thesis.

     Second event: Julie will graduate from Oxford University in May.

7.  First event: The doctor will return. 

     Second event: Noon will arrive.

8.  First event: We will fix your car.

     Second event: You will come back.

9.  First event: Her pictures will be developed.

     Second event: Miok will finish lunch.

10.  First event: Pigs will fly.

     Second event: Richard will do his homework.

1.  First event: I will stop smoking.

     Second event: Spring will arrive.

     Answers:  By the time spring arrives, I will have stopped smoking.

                     By spring, I will have stopped smoking.

2.  First event: I will lose 25 pounds.

     Second event: I will see you in the summer.

     Answers:  By the time I see you in the summer, I will have lost 25 pounds.

                      By summer, I will have lost 25 pounds.

3.  First event: I will learn to cook.

     Second event: I will make my family a gourmet meal.

     Answer:  By the time I make my family a gourmet meal, I will have learned to cook.

4.  First event: I will apply to college.

     Second event: July will come.

     Answers:  By the time July comes, I will have applied to college.

                     By July, I will have applied to college.

5.  First event: I will write a new résumé on MyEnglishTeacher.net.

     Second event: The end of January will come.

     Answers:  By the time the end of January comes, I will have written my résumé on MyEnglishTeacher.net.

                     By the end of July, I will have written my résumé on MyEnglishTeacher.net.  

6.  First event: She will finish her Ph.D. thesis.

     Second event: Julie will graduate from Oxford University in May.

     Answers:  By the time Julie graduates from Oxford University in May, she will have finished her Ph.D. thesis.

                      By graduation in May, Julie will have finished her Ph.D. thesis.

7.  First event: The doctor will return. 

     Second event: Noon will arrive.

     Answers:  By the time noon arrives, the doctor will have returned.

                      By noon, the doctor will have returned.

8.  First event: We will fix your car.

     Second event: You will come back.

     Answer:  By the time you come back, we will have fixed your car.

9.  First event: Her pictures will be developed.

     Second event: Miok will finish lunch.

     Answer:  By the time Miok finishes her lunch, her pictures will have been developed.

10.  First event: Pigs will learn to fly.

      Second event: Richard will do his homework.

      Answers:  By the time Richard does his homework, pigs will have learned to fly.

     **This is a joke.  Pigs will never learn to fly.  Therefore, the meaning is a joke to say that Richard will never do his homework. 

Rules to Remember!

1 The word perfect in English grammar means past or finished.  Therefore, the future perfect indicates something in the future will be finished BEFORE another event.
2 When using the future perfect with 2 future events, the first event uses the future perfect grammar (have/has + past participle); the second event often has the phrase by the time which means before.
3 For a list of irregular past participles, click here.
4 For more lessons on perfect tenses, see our previous lessons:

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