I have a question regarding the future perfect tense and which prepositions go with it. Understandably, by, for, and in work very well with the future perfect.

By friday, I will have been working here for one year.

In two years, I will have worked here for two years.

However, my question is whether or not since is usable with the future perfect.

"Do you want to go out tonight?"

"Nah, I'll have been working since 9 AM. I'm going to be dead tired."

My guess is that this is usable as an approximation. I'll have been working here since May for example. Swan and Cambridge offer no solution for this. My question is: is this possible?

  • 3
    If the point in time after since (so 9 AM) is earlier than the time of utterance, it sounds fine. Jun 22 '12 at 14:23

I can certainly understand the Future Perfect Progressive being used like that.

It's because our grammar textbooks traditionally just concern themselves with the point in the future (by, when etc.) for Future Perfect and Future Perfect Progressive. But in your example, the time in the future has already been mentioned: "(at some point) tonight".

So it makes sense for the speaker to just add the starting point of the action, which was unclear in the situation. Either this or the perfectly acceptable period of time: "for such number of hours."

We make sentences like: "I'll have been working for 6 hours," right? So, I think we can mention the starting point instead.


That seems like perfectly legitimate usage to me, and it's definitely something I've heard in conversation.


In isolation I'll have been working since May strikes me as weird. However, if you ask me to defer my winter holiday to oversee the month up to Christmas (assuming I work in marketing, say), then I might complain that _If I do, I'll have been working since May without a break. In general, (I) will have been Xing since blah is fine, I think, if that's a long time to be Xing.

  • What does "to oversee the month up to Christmas" mean? And regardless of whether they ask you to defer your holiday or not, it would already be true that you've been working since May without a break. So the "If I do" doesn't really fit. You might say, "If I do, I'll have worked from May to Christmas without a break."
    – Jim
    Jun 23 '12 at 4:48
  • @Jim You've raised three separate points. First, "to oversee the month up to Christmas" means, this case, "to take charge of operations from November 25 until December 25". Second, the idea behind this specific example is that, in my experience, if you're asked to defer your holiday, it's because your employer is short-staffed and need you to do something special (such as, take on a supervisory capacity). But of course, you could make up other scenarios. Jun 23 '12 at 7:09
  • @Jim Last, yes, you might say "I'll have worked from May to Christmas without a break" here. My claim wasn't that there is only one sentence or construction that's felicitous in this scenario (that's all most never the case in English.) That said, I think the future perfect continuous ("I'll have been working from May to Christmas without a break") is better than a plain future perfect here, and, if following a question like Can you oversee the month to Christmas?, I definitely prefer I'll have been working since May, if only to avoid repetition of Christmas. Hope that clarifies. Jun 23 '12 at 7:17

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