Past Future Perfect Tense

Past Future Perfect Tense actually is almost similar to the Future Perfect Tense. It restates the action stated in Future Perfect Tense but with different time dimension, it is in past time whilst the Future Perfect is in future time (not happen yet). Past Future Perfect Tense usually pairs with Past Perfect Tense.

The Pattern


Subject + would + have + Verb3 (past participle) ———–>> I would have done ….


Subject + would + not + have + Verb3 (past participle)—–>> I would not have done ….


Would +subject + have + Verb3 (past participle)——–>> Would you have done ….?

Time Signals

The time signals usually used with this tense among others are at 9 last night, at 8 a.m yesterday, last week/month/year, two years ago, etc.

The Uses

The Past Future Perfect Tense is used to express:

1. an action which would have finished at a certain time in the past;

Pay attention to the following illustration!
Yesterday at 8 a.m, a friend of me sent me a text telling me that he would come to my house at 10 a.m.; then I said that I wouldn’t be at home at that time because I would attend an English class from 9-11 a.m. So at 10, I would be attending my class. But at about 12 p.m I would have been home.
Then I can make a sentence in past future perfect to describe the condition as follows:

I would have finished my English class at 12.p.m yesterday.

You can imagine the other happening which can be expressed with past future tense. But I will give you more examples to build more comprehensive understanding:

  • She would have been ready preparing the dinner by the time her husband came home last night.
  • The secretary would have finished typing the letter at 1 p.m yesterday afternoon.
  • The boy would have played the game twice at 11 yesterday.

2. a predicted or planned action in the past (1);

An action which was predicted or planned to have happened or finished before or until a certain time in the past can be expressed with the Past Future Perfect Tense. Usually it begins with a clause contains prediction, expectation or plan. The verbs used in the clause among others are think, hope, expect, plan, intend, assume, etc.


  • Last night, I assumed that by the time I got home, the dinner would have been ready on the table.
  • She thought that he would have paid his debt when he received his salary last week.
  • He hoped that he would have finished writing the proposal when his boss asked it yesterday but poor that the electricity suddenly went off.
  • They planned that their third album would have been released before summer last year.

I am sure you still remember that the time clause in the Future Perfect is written in the Simple Present. But in Past Future Perfect Tense the time clause is written in the simple past. You can see the words written in italic above.

3. a predicted or planned action in the past (2);

Actually it is almost the same as the use no 2. It only performs a slight difference. This restates an action which was predicted or planned to have done or finished before another action in the past. In this case the two actions are done by the same subject. And you may put the word already after would or have.


  • I guessed that you would already have finished your homework before you went to the cinema last night.
  • He thought that he would have already published his first book before he wrote the second one.
  • We assumed that she would already have prepared everything before the guess came.

4. the main clause of the conditional sentence type 3 (past unreal condition).

It describes a disappointing or dissatisfying event that happened in the past.


  • I wouldn’t have done this unnecessary mistake if you had told me the truth.
  • We would have been very proud of them if they had won the contest.
  • He wouldn’t have experienced such bad thing if he had been careful.

Check the 16 English Tenses you want to study more below!




Past Future