Unit 14: Future and conditional perfect tenses, translation considerations (part 4)

14.1 Future Perfect Tense and the Future Perfect of Probability

The future perfect tense is formed by the irregular future of the auxiliary verb haber plus the past participle:

hacer traducción
yo habré hecho I will have done
habrás hecho you (fam.) will have done
él, ella, Ud. habrá hecho he, she, you (form.) will have done
nosotros habremos hecho we will have done
vosotros habréis hecho you (fam. pl.) will have done
ellos, ellas, Uds. habrán hecho they, you (form. pl. [fam. pl. in L.A.]) will have done

The future perfect tense is used largely as it is in English, that is, to express an action that will have been completed or finished by some future point in time.

Para octubre se habrán casado. They will have gotten married by October.
Con suerte, Leopoldo se habrá hecho abogado en dos años. With luck, Leopoldo will have become a lawyer in two years.

Just as the future tense is used to express probability or conjecture in the present moment, the future perfect is used to express the same in the future perfect time frame. Study the following:

  • future tense + probability = present meaning
  • future perfect tense + probability = present perfect meaning

Again, note the possibilities of translation:

¿Dónde habrá estado Juan? Where could Juan have been?

Where do you think Juan has been?

I wonder where Juan has been?

At times the insertion of the word “probably” also suffices to translate the concept: “Where has Juan probably (likely) been?”

Conceivably ambiguous examples of the “true” future perfect versus the future perfect of probability exist, but meaning should be clarified in context:

Hace dos días que no veo a Gloria.

¿Dónde habrá estado?

I haven’t seen Gloria for two days.

Where could she have been?

Where do you think she has been?

I wonder where she has been

Jenaro todavía no ha vuelto. Jenaro still hasn’t returned.
Habrá estado esperando algo. He must have been waiting for something.

Note that English also occasionally uses the same tense to express the same phenomenon, e.g., “Will the others have noticed?,” the meaning of which is the same as “Do you think the others have noticed?”


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