Future Perfect

French future perfect
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Futur antérieur

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could plan a perfect future? Too bad that’s not what the future perfect tense does. The grammatical term "perfect" means "completed," so the future perfect is used to talk about something that will have happened or will have been completed at some point in the future.

Par exemple…

J’aurai fini le travail quand vous arriverez.   I will have finished the work by the time you arrive.
Si tu rentres tard, je me serai déjà couché.   If you come home late, I’ll already have gone to bed.

In the above examples, the future perfect is used the same way in French and English.

  But there are three constructions in which the futur antérieur is used only in French.

1. After conjunctions and conjunctive phrases that introduce future actions:

  • après que (after)
  • aussitôt que (as soon as)
  • dès que (as soon as)
  • lorsque (when)
  • quand (when)
  • une fois que (once)

Par exemple…

Dès que tu auras mangé, tu dois partir.   As soon as you eat / you’ve eaten, you need to leave.
Je t’aiderai une fois que tu m’auras raconté l’histoire.   I’ll help you once you’ve told me the story.

2. When making assumptions about things that "must" have happened in the past:

Je ne peux pas trouver mon sac à dos ; je l’aurai laissé dans la voiture.   I can’t find my purse; I must have left it in the car.
Sandrine est en retard ; sa voiture sera tombée en panne.   Sandrine is late; her car must have broken down.

3. In historical narratives, to talk about what happened long ago:

Louix XIV aura décidé en 1677 de faire de Versailles la résidence royale.   In 1677, Louis XIV decided to make Versailles the royal residence.
Simone de Beauvoir aura publié Le Deuxième Sexe en 1949.   Simone de Beauvoir published The Second Sex in 1949.

 Related lessons

 Future Perfect Quizzes

Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on the futur antérieur with these fill-in-the-blanks exercises:

Note: You must be logged into your Progress with Lawless French account to take these tests. If you don’t have one, sign up – it’s free!

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French future perfect

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