1

I came across this dialogue:

A: I don't know anyone who saw the eclipse of the moon last night.
B: I suppose most people will have been watching the Eurovision Song Contest on TV when it happened.

I don't understand why the future perfect continuous (will have been watching) is used to explain something happened in the past. Please tell me that this is a valid example and I am just missing something here. :)

I know that the future perfect or future perfect continuous can be used to tell something about the present. There are many examples I have seen. But I have not found anything how it can be used to tell something about the past event. Like in my example above.

11
  • 3
  • No, it does not. There is no reference to the past here.
    – Taras
    Feb 24 at 14:06
  • Of course there is - the eclipse was 'last night' and B speculates on what many people were probably doing at the time. Feb 24 at 19:45
  • I mean there is no reference to the past in your example.
    – Taras
    Feb 25 at 7:58
  • It's not an example, it's a link to an earlier question on the same topic. The speaker supposes that the person in question has been drinking all day. Feb 25 at 8:42

1 Answer 1

0

B: I suppose most people will have been watching the Eurovision Song Contest on TV when it happened. [used but not standard]

I suppose they will be eating dinner now.

I suppose they will have been eating dinner since 8 pm. [spoken in the present]

Bear in mind: in speech, yours is fine. In writing, I'd do this:

B: Most people would have been watching the Eurovision Song Contest on TV when it happened. [standard, in writing] because the meaning is past tense.

Compare:

  • He says he will be working tonight when the cops arrive.
  • He says he would have been working tonight when the cops arrived.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .