What is the future tense?
The future tense - Easy Learning Grammar French
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 French to refer to something that is going to happen in the future.
|Je prends le train de dix heures.||I’m taking the ten o’clock train.|
|Nous allons à Paris la semaine prochaine.||We’re going to Paris next week.|
- In English we often use going to followed by an infinitive to talk about something that will happen in the immediate future. You can use the French verb aller (meaning to go) followed by an infinitive in the same way.
|Tu vas tomber si tu continues.||You’re going to fall if you carry on.|
|Il va manquer le train.||He’s going to miss the train.|
TipRemember that French has no direct equivalent of the word will in verb forms like will rain or will look and so on. You change the French verb ending instead to form the future tense.
2 Forming the future tense
- To form the future tense in French, you use:
- the infinitive of -er and -ir verbs, for example, donner, finir
- the infinitive without the final e of -re verbs: for example, attendr-
- Then add the correct ending to the stem, depending on whether you are talking about je, tu, il, elle, on, nous, vous, ils or elles. The endings are the same for -er, -ir and -re verbs.
- Note that apart from the nous and vous forms, the endings are the same as the present tense of avoir.
- For the present tense of avoir, see The present tense: irregular verbs.
|Pronoun||Ending||Add to stem, e.g. donner-, finir-, attendr-||Meanings|
|je (j’)||-ai||je donnerai|
|I will give|
I will finish
I will wait
|you will give|
you will finish
you will wait
|he/she/it/one will give|
he/she/it/one will finish
he/she/it/one will wait
|we will give|
we will finish
we will wait
|you will give|
you will finish
you will wait
|they will give|
they will finish
they will wait
|Elle te donnera mon adresse.||She’ll give you my address.|
|Le cours finira à onze heures.||The lesson will finish at eleven o’clock.|
|Nous t’attendrons devant le cinéma.||We’ll wait for you in front of the cinema.|
Tipje changes to j’ in front of a word starting with a vowel, most words starting with h, and the French word y.
3 Spelling changes in -er verbs
- As with the present and imperfect tenses, a few -er verbs change their spellings slightly in the future tense. The forms with spelling changes have been underlined in the tables.
- With verbs such as appeler (meaning to call), which end in -eler, the
l doubles throughout the future tense. The double consonant (ll) affects the pronunciation of the word. In appeler, the first e sounds like the vowel sound at the end of the English word teacher, but in appellerai the first e sounds like the one in the English word pet.
|Pronoun||Example verb: appeler|
- The exceptions to this rule are geler (meaning to freeze) and peler (meaning to peel), which change in the same way as lever (see The future tense).
- With verbs such as jeter (meaning to throw), that end in -eter, the t doubles throughout the future tense. The double consonant (tt) affects the pronunciation of the word. In jeter, the first e sounds like the vowel sound at the end of the English word teacher, but in jetterai the first e sounds like the one in the English word pet.
|Pronoun||Example verb: jeter|
- The exceptions to this rule include acheter (meaning to buy), which changes
in the same way as lever (see The future tense).
- With verbs such as nettoyer (meaning to clean), that end in -yer, the y changes to i throughout the future tense.
|Pronoun||Example verb: nettoyer|
- Verbs ending in -ayer, such as payer (meaning to pay) and essayer (meaning to try), can be spelled with either a y or an i. So je paierai and je payerai, for example, are both correct.
- With verbs such as lever (meaning to raise), peser (meaning to weigh) and acheter (meaning to buy), e changes to è throughout the future tense. In lever the first e sounds like the vowel sound at the end of the English word teacher, but in lèverai and so on the first e sounds like the one in the English word pet.
|Pronoun||Example verb: lever|
4 Reflexive verbs in the future tense
- The future tense of reflexive verbs is formed in just the same way as for ordinary verbs, except that you have to remember to give the reflexive pronoun (me, te, se, nous, vous, se).
|Example with laver||Meaning|
|je||me (m’)||laverai||I will wash|
|tu||te (t’)||laveras||you will wash|
|se (s’)||lavera||he/she/it/one will wash|
|nous||nous||laverons||we will wash|
|vous||vous||laverez||you will wash|
|se (s’)||laveront||they will wash|
Tipme changes to m’, te to t’ and se to s’ before a vowel, most words starting with h and the French word y.
5 Irregular verbs in the future tense
- There are some verbs that do not use their infinitives as the stem for the future tense, including avoir, être, faire and aller, which are shown in full on .
- Other irregular verbs include:
|pouvoir||to be able|
- il faut becomes il faudra (meaning it will be necessary to).
- il pleut becomes il pleuvra (meaning it will rain).
- This is the future tense of avoir:
|Pronoun||avoir||Meaning: to have|
|j’||aurai||I will have|
|tu||auras||you will have|
|aura||he/she/it/one will have|
|nous||aurons||we will have|
|vous||aurez||you will have|
|auront||they will have|
- This is the future tense of être:
|Pronoun||être||Meaning: to be|
|je||serai||I will be|
|tu||seras||you will be|
|sera||he/she/it/one will be|
|nous||serons||we will be|
|vous||serez||you will be|
|seront||they will be|
- This is the future tense of faire:
|Pronoun||faire||Meaning: to do, to make|
|je||ferai||I will do/make|
|tu||feras||you will do/make|
|fera||he/she/it/one will do/make|
|nous||ferons||we will do/make|
|vous||ferez||you will do/make|
|feront||they will do/make|
- This is the future tense of aller:
|Pronoun||aller||Meaning: to go|
|j’||irai||I will go|
|tu||iras||you will go|
|ira||he/she/it/one will go|
|nous||irons||we will go|
|vous||irez||you will go|
|iront||they will go|
- For Verb tables, see supplement.
- You can use a present tense in French to talk about something that will happen or be true in the future, just as in English.
- You can use aller with an infinitive to refer to things that will happen in the immediate future.
- The stem is the same as the infinitive for -er, -ir and -re verbs, except that the final -e of -re verbs is lost.
- The future tense endings are the same for -er, -ir and -re verbs:
-ai, -as, -a, -ons, -ez, -ont.
- In verbs ending in -eler and -eter:
l → ll and t → tt throughout the future tense.
- In verbs ending in -yer:
y → i throughout the future tense (optional in -ayer verbs).
- Some verbs are irregular in the future tense. It is worth learning these in full.