Easy Learning French

The future tense - Easy Learning Grammar French

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 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.
PronounEndingAdd to stem, e.g. donner-, finir-, attendr-Meanings
je (j’)-aije donnerai
je finirai
j’attendrai
I will give
I will finish
I will wait
tu-astu donneras
tu finiras
tu attendras
you will give
you will finish
you will wait
il
elle
on
-ail/elle/on donnera
il/elle/on finira
il/elle/on attendra
he/she/it/one will give
he/she/it/one will finish
he/she/it/one will wait
nous-onsnous donnerons
nous finirons
nous attendrons
we will give
we will finish
we will wait
vous-ezvous donnerez
vous finirez
vous attendrez
you will give
you will finish
you will wait
ils
elles
-ontils/elles donneront
ils/elles finiront
ils/elles attendront
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.
PronounExample verb: appeler
j’appellerai
tuappelleras
il
elle
on
appellera
nousappellerons
vousappellerez
ils
elles
appelleront
  • 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.
PronounExample verb: jeter
jejetterai
tujetteras
il
elle
on
jettera
nousjetterons
vousjetterez
ils
elles
jetteront
  • 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.
PronounExample verb: nettoyer
jenettoierai
tunettoieras
il
elle
on
nettoiera
nousnettoierons
vousnettoierez
ils
elles
nettoieront
  • 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.
PronounExample verb: lever
jelèverai
tulèveras
il
elle
on
lèvera
nouslèverons
vouslèverez
ils
elles
lèveront

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).
Subject
pronoun
Reflexive
pronoun
Example with laverMeaning
jeme (m’)laveraiI will wash
tute (t’)laverasyou will wash
il
elle
on
se (s’)laverahe/she/it/one will wash
nousnouslaveronswe will wash
vousvouslaverezyou will wash
ils
elles
se (s’)laverontthey 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:
VerbMeaningjetuil/elle/onnousvousils/elles
devoirto have
to, must
devraidevrasdevradevronsdevrezdevront
pouvoirto be able
to, can
pourraipourraspourrapourronspourrezpourront
savoirto knowsauraisaurassaurasauronssaurezsauront
tenirto holdtiendraitiendrastiendratiendronstiendreztiendront
venirto comeviendraiviendrasviendraviendronsviendrezviendront
voirto seeverraiverrasverraverronsverrezverront
vouloirto wantvoudraivoudrasvoudravoudronsvoudrezvoudront
  • 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:
PronounavoirMeaning: to have
j’auraiI will have
tuaurasyou will have
il
elle
on
aurahe/she/it/one will have
nousauronswe will have
vousaurezyou will have
ils
elles
aurontthey will have
  • This is the future tense of être:
PronounêtreMeaning: to be
jeseraiI will be
tuserasyou will be
il
elle
on
serahe/she/it/one will be
nousseronswe will be
vousserezyou will be
ils
elles
serontthey will be
  • This is the future tense of faire:
PronounfaireMeaning: to do, to make
jeferaiI will do/make
tuferasyou will do/make
il
elle
on
ferahe/she/it/one will do/make
nousferonswe will do/make
vousferezyou will do/make
ils
elles
ferontthey will do/make
  • This is the future tense of aller:
PronounallerMeaning: to go
j’iraiI will go
tuirasyou will go
il
elle
on
irahe/she/it/one will go
nousironswe will go
vousirezyou will go
ils
elles
irontthey will go
  • For Verb tables, see supplement.
Key points
  • 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:
    lll and ttt throughout the future tense.
  • In verbs ending in -yer:
    yi throughout the future tense (optional in -ayer verbs).
  • Some verbs are irregular in the future tense. It is worth learning these in full.

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