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I'm wondering how "haben" and "sein" are used in the future perfect tense.

Say

Ich werde gegessen haben

means "I will have eaten" and it uses "haben".

Then

Wann werden sie gegangen sein?

can mean "When will they have gone?" but it uses "sein".

Are the different usages fixed combinations (i.e. needs to memorize them all), or it's associated with certain type of words / actions (i.e. similar to "where" vs. "go to where")?

  • You are getting confused over the differences between English and German. In English, the verb go takes the auxiliary have, in German the verb gehen takes the auxiliary sein. Otherwise their construction is similar: future of be / sein ("they will" / "sie werden") + infinitive of auxiliary ("have" / "sein") + past participle of verb ("gone" / "gegangen"). As a language learner, never try to understand German through English! They are not the same language and have a different grammar. – user27279 May 30 '17 at 7:50
7

Just like in Perfekt (present perfect) and Plusquamperfekt (past perfect), Futur II (future perfect) uses either "haben" or "sein", and in some cases can use both. There's no difference in the choice of the auxiliary verb between Futur II and the other two tenses.

In general, many verbs use "haben". Verbs of movement use "sein", as do verbs expressing a resultant state or state change. When verbs can use both, "sein" expresses again a resultant state, while "haben" expresses an action.

Details for example at canoo.

1

Future perfect is "future" combined with "perfect". So whichever helper (haben, sein) you'd use for perfect, that'll be the one for "future perfect", too. If you don't know which one to use for "perfect" then "future perfect" is not something you should be worrying about.

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