The Futur Anterieur

The futur antérieur (future perfect) is used to express a future action or event that will be completed before another future action or to describe a future action or event that will have been completed in the future.

Forming the futur antérieur

The futur antérieur is formed by using the future tense of the helping verb ( avoir or ětre) + the past participle of the action being performed. The futur antérieur tells what the subject will or shall have done:

  • Ils auront fini avant mon départ. (They will have finished before my departure.)
  • Nous serons déjà partis quand vous arriverez. (We will have already left when you arrive.)
  • Les enfants se seront déjà couchés quand leurs parents reviendront. (The children will have already gone to bed when their parents return.)
  • Demain à cette heure, il sera revenu de son voyage. (Tomorrow at this time, he will have come back from his trip.)

Negating the futur antérieur

To negate a sentence in the futur antérieur, simply put ne and the negative word around the conjugated helping verb:

  • Je n'aurai pas fini mon travail avant minuit. (I will not have finished my work before midnight.)
  • Il n'aura rien accompli. (He will have accomplished nothing.)

Remember that pronouns remain before the conjugated verb:

  • Je n'y serai pas allé avant lundi. (I will not have gone there before Monday.)

Questions in the futur antérieur

To form a question using inversion, reverse the order of the subject pronoun and the verb and join them with a hyphen. Use ‐t‐ to link two vowels:

  • Sera‐t‐elle revenue avant la fin de mai? (Will she have returned before the end of May?)

To negate an inverted question, put ne and the negative expression around the inverted form. Remember that all object and adverbial pronouns must remain before the conjugated form of the verb:

  • N'aura‐t‐il pas fini le travail? (Won't he have finished the work?)
  • Ne l'aura‐t‐il pas fini? (Won't he have finished it?)

Uses of the futur antérieur

The futur antérieur is used after the conjunctions quand (when), lorsque (when), aussitôt que (as soon as), dès que (as soon as), and après que (after) when the future is used in the main clause:

  • Après que nos invités seront partis, nous nous coucherons. (As soon as our guests have left, we will go to bed.)

The futur antérieur is also used to express probability or supposition in the past:

  • Il n'est pas venu. Il aura oublié notre rendez‐vous. (He didn't come. He must have forgotten our appointment.)
  • Elle est en retard. Il sera arrivé quelque chose. (She's late. Something must have happened.)