In the following two sentences “Your will have heard the news, so I need not repeat it.” “They will have received our letter now. ” , how to understand the "will have + past participle"? Is it future perfect tense or some kind of guess?

Thank you so much!

1 Answer 1


This formulation means that the event referred to can be assumed (or presumed) to have occurred. It is not connected with any kind of future tense. Its meaning is similar to "must have", for instance as in:

“You must have heard the news, so I need not repeat it.”

“They must have received our letter [by] now.”

  • 2
    Maybe you can add that will in this meaning can also be used with a present tense; for example in "As you all will know, it was a hard year" - the addressees are assumed to know that already, there is indeed not future meaning to it :)
    – oerkelens
    May 28, 2014 at 11:36
  • Right. This is just the epistemic sense of will -- confident prediction -- as opposed to the epistemic sense of must -- logical necessity. All modal use is less assertive than a simple assertion -- You've heard the news -- because all modality raises the questions of possibility, probability, and evidence. May 28, 2014 at 14:25

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