Easy Learning German

The future tense - Easy Learning Grammar German

What is the future tense?
The future tense is a verb tense used to talk about something that will happen or will be true.

1 Using the future tense

  • In English the future tense is often shown by will or its shortened form ’ll.
What will you do?The weather will be warm and dry tomorrow.He’ll be here soon.I’ll give you a call.
  • Just as in English, you can use the present tense in German to refer to something that is going to happen in the future.
Wir fahren nächstes Jahr nach Griechenland.We’re going to Greece next year.
Ich nehme den letzten Zug heute Abend.I’m taking the last train tonight.
  • The future tense IS used however to:
  • emphasize the future
Das werde ich erst nächstes Jahr machen können.I won’t be able to do that until next year.
  • express doubt or suppose something about the future
Wenn sie zurückkommt, wird sie mir bestimmt helfen.I’m sure she’ll help me when she returns.
  • In English we often use going to followed by an infinitive to talk about something that will happen in the immediate future. You CANNOT use the German verb gehen (meaning to go) followed by an infinitive in the same way. Instead, you use either the present or the future tense.
Das wirst du bereuen.You’re going to regret that.
Wenn er sich nicht beeilt, verpasst er den Zug.He’s going to miss the train if he doesn’t hurry up.

2 Forming the future tense

  • The future tense has TWO parts to it and is formed in the same way for all verbs, be they weak, strong or mixed:
  • the present tense of the strong verb werden (meaning to become), which acts as an auxiliary verb like haben and sein in the perfect tense
PronounEndingPresent Tense Meanings
ich-eich werdeI become
du-stdu wirstyou become
er
sie
es
er wird
sie wird
es wird
he/she/it becomes
wir-enwir werdenwe become
ihr-tihr werdetyou (plural) become
sie

Sie
-en

-en
sie werden

Sie werden
they become

you (polite) become
  • the infinitive of the main verb, which normally goes at the end of the clause or sentence.
PronounPresent Tense of werdenInfinitive of Main VerbMeanings
ichwerdeholenI will fetch
duwirstholenyou will fetch
er
sie
es
wirdholenhe/she/it will fetch
wirwerdenholenwe will fetch
ihrwerdetholenyou (plural) will fetch
sie

Sie
werdenholenthey will fetch

you (polite) will fetch
Morgen werde ich mein Fahrrad holen.I’ll fetch my bike tomorrow.
Sie wird dir meine Adresse geben.She’ll give you my address.
Wir werden draußen warten.We’ll wait outside.
  • Note that in reflexive verbs, the reflexive pronoun comes after the present tense of werden.
Ich werde mich nächste Woche vorbereiten.I’ll prepare next week.
Key points
  • You can use a present tense in German to talk about something that will happen or be true in the future, just as in English.
  • The future tense is formed from the present tense of werden and the infinitive of the main verb.
  • You CANNOT use gehen with an infinitive to refer to things that will happen in the immediate future.
  • The future tense is used to emphasize the future and express doubt or suppose something about the future.

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