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  1. #1
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    Hi,
    This question may, unfortunately, sound quite ridiculous to many but keeps making me ask myself when the last time was when I heard a native speaker use a 'Future Perfect' tense in their speech. I'd be really happy if some native speakers could kindly share with us the last time they actually used this structure in their 'everyday life'. It'd be a great help to know when such apparently uncommon structure may come to use.


    Thanks a lot in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    The future perfect is not common - because we do not often feel the need to look back on a situation from a time point in the future. Perfect aspect constructions (present, past and future, progressive and non-progressive) together make up between 5% and 10% of all verb phrases; will and shall very rarely occur with the perfect aspect (Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English).

    The last time I used it was about eight hours ago (really!). Speaking on the phone to a friend, I said "I'm still working on your report, but I'll have finished it by the time you get home this evening." I had indeed finished proofreading his report, and emailed it to him, by the time he got home at six.

  3. #3
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    Thank you so much for the helpful reply, dear 5jj. One problem seems to be the course series which tend to exaggerate the way such structures are used in English. Unfortunately, most series show native speakers, talking informally, use this structure in very casual daily events, which is not the case when it comes to its real usage.

  4. #4
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Thank you so much for the helpful reply, dear 5jj. One problem seems to be the course series which tend to exaggerate the way such structures are used in English. Unfortunately, most series show native speakers, talking informally, use this structure in very casual daily events, which is not the case when it comes to its real usage.
    I'd be interested to see examples of the course that you are talking about. I think that it's quite possible that people use this structure more often than you think.

  5. #5
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    Thanks for considering the question. The 'English Result' series, Upper Intermediate, for example, introduces this structure inductively through texts and listening audios in which you feel as though the speakers or the writers were under pressure to squeeze in a couple of sentences made up of that structure! This may sound over the top, but in reality the language a native speaker uses seems to be way simpler than that introduced in such series. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  6. #6
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    I think you are right.Some coursebooks do come up with dialogues that seem rather strained. I think that the future perfect may crop up naturally once in a real-life conversation, but not often more than once. Some course books overdo things in order to make learners aware of the form.

    It's also quite difficult to produce natural-sounding situations in which learners will produce the form.

    There is also the point that in some situations in which course book writers force in a future perfect, many native speakers will not use one: I will have finished the job before you get home. I will finish ... is perfectly acceptable there. This is similar to the past perfect; course books often seem to insist on it in situations when many native speakers would use the past simple.

  7. #7
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    I'm relieved to hear that, dear 5jj! I think, as long as a learner finds a simpler way of functioning in language, they're less likely to master the more complicated ones. This is more obvious in EFL contexts.

  8. #8
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    I think the difference might be dictated by the rest of the sentence.

    I will finish the job before you get home.
    I will have finished the job by the time you get home.

    I will travel to Australia before I'm thirty.
    I'll have been to Australia by the time I'm thirty.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  9. #9
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    This was a new thing to me, dear emsr2d2! Thank you so much!

  10. #10
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    Re: 'Future Perfect' ever really used by native speakers?!

    People in educational institutions use it. Professors and teachers normally do retain that high degree of sensitivity and specificity in tense, time, mood and so on. It is true that it's uncommon in the speech of bartenders and bakers, though.
    Last edited by konungursvia; 27-Jan-2013 at 18:11. Reason: typo

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