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Put the verbs into correct forms

OK, we _______ (leave) you here and _______ (pick) you up in two hours when we _______ (get) back from the town centre.

My answer and analysis:

OK, we will leave you here and will have picked you up in two hours when we get back from the town centre.

I see it talks about the future

Though the expression (by the time we get back) is not mentioned, it is understood or implied that the action of (picking you up) will be completed when we get back. (when you get back after two hours)

In two hours = within two hours in advance OR by the time of two hours end.

Is my analysis correct?

The point I wanted to ask about is:

Is it possible to use the future perfect when the phrase ( by the time) is missing OR if it is possible replaced by when ?

Consider the following example from the book "English Grammar: A University Course By Angela Downing"

The proramme will have ended long before we get back.

( by the time replaced by before......)

So why by the time is not possible to be replaced by when ?

I really mixed in the question I answered ( the future perfect = not correct because the man can't be picked up unless we reach .. If someone else ( not us ) will pick him it is possible

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  • Asking "am I right" is not a question that meets the requirements for the site. It must be a question on a point of learning English.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 7:51
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    The question is perfectly on-topic. It shows research, effort and the author explains their confusion. It's irrelevant that they ask "Am I right?" They are looking for an answer that helps solves the language problem.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 8:00
  • I see it can be replaced Here are examples I found : The sun will have set by the time I get home. \\ The sun will have set when I get home. grammar-quizzes.com/8-6.html Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 18:57
  • Did you copy this sentence from an exercise if you did please name your source. Or did you create it yourself? Because there are several possible "solutions" here.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 19:21
  • OK, we will leave you here and [will] pick you up in two hours when we get back from the town centre. is the way to go here.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 19:36

2 Answers 2

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There are four possible ways of completing this sentence, which tells me that the author did not think this through.

  1. OK, we'll be leaving you here and picking you up in two hours when we get back from the town centre.
  • The "we will be leaving you" is Future Progressive, it expresses an action in progress at some point in the future. The construction Will be + V-ing is also used to talk about plans, arrangements and intentions
  1. OK, we're leaving you here and picking you up in two hours when we get back from the town centre.
  • “We're leaving you here” (we are leaving) is Present Continuous/Progressive. The Present Continuous with a time reference, which may not be explicit but is understood, is used to express an arrangement or a plan in the future; e.g. They are leaving after the award ceremony. The award ceremony is at a specific future date.
  1. OK, we'll leave you here and pick you up in two hours when we get back from the town centre.
  • "We'll leave" (we will leave) is Simple Future, it is used to express offers and promises.
  1. OK, we leave you here and pick you up in two hours when we get back from the town centre.
  • The Simple Present is used for schedules and timetables.

The Future Perfect "we will have picked you up” is used for an action that will be completed at some point in the future, e.g. in two hours' time, by 19.00 (7 p.m.), this time tomorrow etc. In the OP's scenario, we do not normally use this type of future construction before a Simple Present when-clause; i.e. “when we get back”.

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  • OP doesn't give any real context, but initial OK strongly implies your version #3 would be the most likely form. Imho that would also be the most common context overall for any such statement, so it might be worth explicitly making that point in the answer itself. Version #4 could be used in much the same contexts as #3 with the explicit or implicit corollary that the pickup offer has been agreed / accepted. And I would say #1 and #2 are relatively uncommon forms that anyone who would even consider "will have picked you up" can probably ignore at this stage! Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 11:21
  • @FumbleFingers: I would say that #1 and #2 are somewhat plausible in spoken English, but come across as colloquial or maybe even dialectical. #3 is more standard.
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 17:14
  • @Mari-Lou A Thank you very much for your excellent answer. The point I asked for is whether it is possible to use the future perfect when the phrase ( by the time) is missing OR if it possible replaced by when : Consider the following example from the book "English Grammar: A University Course By Angela Downing" ( The proramme will have ended long before we get back. So why when is not possible ? I really mixed in the question I answered ( the future perfect = not correct because the man can't be picked up unless we reach .. If someone ( not us ) will pick him it is possible Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 18:13
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    @AhmadMohammad it's unlikely in this case because it would sound awkward and clumsy. I suspect we would also need to place the verb "leave" in the future perfect: < OK, we will have left you here and picked you up in two hours when we get back > It's grammatical, I guess, but it would be unlikely heard in spontaneous speech. The author of the question did not think this through, the answer could also be in the Simple Past: <“OK, we left you here and picked you up .... when we got back from the town centre”>
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 19:07
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    @AhmadMohammad why isn't arranged? The speaker arranged to drop a person off and to pick them up at a specific time. That time could have been discussed earlier, so the speaker is only reminding the listener the plan. The "OK" could suggest an immediate decision but not necessarily so, it's just as likely uttered as a filler word similar to "so" and "alright"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 8:05
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Your analysis of the timing of the speaker’s return and the listener’s being picked up is valid: the picking up will have been completed.

But I believe you have misread the passage’s meaning. We ___ (leave) you here probably implies, “rather than take you with us to the town centre.” So get back means, “to you here.” Thus it would be nonsensical to say will have picked you up, because it’s impossible to have already picked someone up before returning to them.

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