There are these two constructions:

will do... by... will have done... by...

I want to make sure I understand the difference, if any, between these them correctly and came up with these questions.

Someone promised in the past that:

  1. I will finish the task by July.
  2. I will have finished the task by July.

If he finished on June, 30th, he finished on time in both cases.

What if he finished on July 2nd?

1 Answer 1


If you are looking forward from the present time to completing the task in the future, you would usually use 1. It's a simple statement of intent.

But if you imagine that you are looking back on the completed task from a point in the future, you would use 2, often by way of a reflection of giving someone an assurance.

If, for example, you are reassuring an anxious householder about when you will have finished repainting, you are likely to use 2.

It's a question of whether you are looking forward or looking backward from some imaginary point in the future.

Much of the time, both are applicable.

We often say things like: This time next year I will have finished my degree, especially when we fondly imagine the future.

In your example you would need to specify by the beginning of July.

When/whether the job was finished is not relevant. Both sentences are making statements about when it will be finished, but from different perspectives.

  • Just to make sure I understand you correctly, do you mean the expression "by July" is not clear as to whether it's by the beginning or end of July?
    – ForOU
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 1:45
  • @Robbyzhu Yes, or any other time in July. Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 22:31

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