I received an email suggesting that we do something:

"next week, when we would have been" doing something else.

Would you call this an example of future subjunctive? If not, then what? Perhaps it's a present perfect subjunctive?

I have been searching for an answer and have found few sites with any reference to a counterfactual statement set in the future.

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    Future conditional perfect. – Steven Littman Jul 26 '16 at 21:09
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    English doesn't have a subjunctive mood, so there are no examples of it, whether past, present, or future ;) – curiousdannii Aug 12 '16 at 3:26

present use: situations that are no longer possible

We sometimes use structures with would have ... to talk about present and future situations which are no longer possible because of the way things have turned out.

It would have been nice to go to Australia this winter, but there's no way we can do it. (OR It would be nice ... ) If my mother hadn't knocked my father off his bicycle thirty years ago, I wouldn't have been here now. (OR ... I wouldn't be here now.)



Simply, the conditional perfect (continuous). That it refers to a future contrafactual, rather than the more usual present contrafactual ("She would have wanted you to marry again") should make no difference in that from the time perspective of the future, the "would have been doing" refers to a contrafactual present.

In short, you are imagining a person speaking in the future who, however, is living in his own present. I would not call it a subjunctive.


Your example is not future subjunctive. It's not subjunctive at all, in fact. It's conditional.

The closest English comes to a truly future subjunctive mood is using the future periphrastic in conjunction with the past subjunctive mood, for example:

  • I wish we were to ski in the Alps rather than the Andes for the finals.


  • I wish we were to be skiing in the Alps rather than the Andes for the finals.

Combining the infinitive with the subjunctive casts the action definitively into the future.

Remember, the monikers present and past in English verb conjugation regarding the subjunctive moods refer to the form and not to the time of the action expressed as the events are merely hypothetical, an irrealis. In reality, the event's aren't happening and haven't happened.

What you have is an instance of the perfect continuous conditional. The subjunctive clause that brought the condition to fruition remains merely implied (e.g., 'if you had got everything ready as expected', 'had you done what little you'd been asked', 'were you not a complete and utter numpty', etc.)

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