By the time they reach the station the train would have/ will have left.

Since it's a future action, we should be using 'will have'.

But since 'would' can also be used as a modal verb to indicate a conditional mood, 'would have' also sounds good to me, as the one who is saying cannot be completely sure of the time of the train's departure.

Please clarify.

1 Answer 1


If it's in future tense, I would always use will have, even with a conditional context:

By the time they reach the station the train will have left, unless it is delayed

Would have only really makes sense if you're talking about a hypothetical past situation:

If they hadn't hurried, by the time they reached the station the train would have left.

(implying that they have already reached the station and the train hadn't left yet)


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