The Future Tense

  1. Forms of the future tense.

    Endings. The endings for all verbs are:

    , -ás, , -emos, -éis, -án

    Note that every one except the nosotros form requires a written accent.

    Stem. Normally, the infinitive is used as the stem (exceptions will be given below).







    hablaré hablaremos comeré comeremos viviré viviremos
    hablarás hablaréis comerás comeréis vivirás viviréis
    hablará hablarán comerá comerán vivirá vivirán

    Verbs with irregular future stems: (Remember that this same stem is used to form the conditional.)

    decir dir- to say
    haber habr- there to be [impersonal]; to have [helping verb]
    hacer har- to make, do
    poder podr- to be able
    poner pondr- to put, place, set
    querer querr- to want, love
    saber sabr- to know [a fact], know how [+ infinitive]
    salir saldr- to leave, go out
    tener tendr- to have
    valer valdr- to be worth
    venir vendr- to come

    Enrique nos dirá la verdad.   Enrique will tell us the truth.
    ¿Quiénes vendrán conmigo? Who will come with me?
    Pondré la mesa en seguida. I'll set the table right away.

  2. Usage. There are two main ways in which the future tense is used in Spanish:

    1. It indicates future time, the same as in English.

      Mañana saldremos para Madrid.   Tomorrow we will leave for Madrid.
      El lunes iré al hospital. I'll go to the hospital on Monday.

      NOTE: The present tense is often used instead of the future for near future actions:

      Esta noche miramos la televisión.   Tonight we'll watch TV.
      Lo hago en dos minutos. I'll do it in two minutes.

    2. The future tense is also used to indicate conjecture or probability in the present time. In English, expressions such as “probably”, “must”, “I/you think” are usually used rather than the future tense.

      ¿Dónde estará María?   Where do you think Mary is (right now)?
      Estará en casa. She is probably at home.
      ¿Qué hora es? What time is it?
      Serán las ocho. It must be 8:00. (Or: It is probably 8:00, I think it's 8:00, etc.)

    3. There is a third, seldom seen, use of the future: in commands, as in the ten commandments, where the usage is similar to that in English.

      No matarás.                    Thou shalt not kill.

  3. The periphrastic future: Ir a + the infinitive. A present tense form of the verb ir (to go) plus the preposition a plus an infinitive is often used as a substitute for the future tense in Spanish. The same phenomenon also occurs in English:

    ¿Vas a estudiar mañana?   Are you going to study tomorrow?
    No voy a hacer nada. I'm not going to do anything.

  4. When “will” is used in the sense of “to be willing to” it is normally translated by the verb querer (to want), not the future tense. This frequently occurs in requests which suggest the idea “would you like to” or “would you be willing to”:

    ¿Quiere Ud. apagar el cigarrillo?   Will you put out your cigarrette?
    ¿Quieres sacar la basura, Juan? Will you take out the trash, John?


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Contact: Fred F. Jehle


Indiana University - Purdue University Ft. Wayne
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499 USA