I am having a problem defining the British English grammar used here.

The context is that I am chatting with my brother about taking my sister to see the sequel to a film and I do know if she has seen the first film. Seeing the second film is contingent on the first film having been watched. It doesn't matter if she has seen it now or after now, but need to have seen it at some point in order to satisfy the condition. So I say:

She will have had to have seen the first film.

I do not know if it makes a difference if the sequel is at a fixed time in the future or any time in the future.


I believe you're talking about future perfect tense, and it seems to me that you do not need "had".

First, consider how you would convert a simpler sentence from present perfect to future perfect. For example, "She has seen the film." This means your sister saw the film (and completed the action) sometime before you said this sentence, and it's not particularly relevant when she saw it (as opposed to, say, "She saw the film last Tuesday.") Now consider how to convert this to future perfect. You should replace the verbs with the future perfect construction "will have [past tense verb of interest]". So, "She will have seen the film [by next Tuesday]." This means that by sometime before the time you're talking about, she completed watching the film (but perhaps she watched it before you said the sentence, and perhaps she will watch it between when you say the sentence and the future time you're talking about--either situation fits the sentence.)

Now we're adding "have to" (equivalent to "must") to the sentence. Consider what you would say if you were talking to your brother about taking your sister to see the movie now, so long as she has already seen the prequel. Probably something like, "(In order for me to take her today,) she must have already seen the movie" or "She has to have already seen the movie." (Note that the conditional verb you're talking about is actually that you will take her to see a movie if she has already seen the prequel--her seeing the prequel is not the conditional, but the condition.)

Using the same rules we used in our simpler sentence, the present perfect "She has to have already seen the movie," becomes "She will have to have already seen the movie."


She will have had to see the first film to go for second one.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.