I will have finished cleaning the room by the time you come.

What i want to know is if i can use the word "cleaning" in this sentence. I know that when you use future perfect, you need to have a sentence like "i will have finished my homework by the time you come" but the second verb "cleaning" confuses me.

  • 1
    As many people see the gerund as a verb that takes on the job of a noun, cleaning and homework both work in your sentence. Nov 29, 2020 at 13:53
  • 1
    The sentence could be rephrased as By the time you come, I will have finished [NP]. So like Yosef Baskin pointed out you could plug in any meaningful NP to get a meaningful sentence.
    – user405662
    Nov 29, 2020 at 14:24
  • As grammatical as 'I finish cleaning my room' (usually unidiomatic without padding). // 'I finished cleaning my room.' // 'I have finished cleaning my room.' What is special about the future perfect construction? Nov 29, 2020 at 14:44
  • Though those who follow CGEL literally will object, it's perfectly fine to think of a gerund clause (or phrase, if you prefer) as a NP. Since direct objects are canonically NPs, when a gerund acts as an object, it's appropriate to label the node as NP. Nonterminal node labels are totally arbitrary, and only visible from above in this case; from below, the node looks like an S. Nov 29, 2020 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can use the word cleaning. Here's why. Diagram the sentence this way:

Subject | verb | direct object | adverb phrase.

I | will have finished | cleaning the room | by the time you come.

Cleaning the room is the direct object, which in this case is a gerund phrase, a verb acting as a noun and its objects. Think of it like this: I will have finished what? The answer is direct object (cleaning the room), modified by the adverb phrase (by the time you come).

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