French verbs come in many tenses. Lucky for you, French tutor Carol Beth L. is back with a lesson on conjugating verbs in the future tense…
So you know how to conjugate regular verbs and some irregular verbs in le présent. You are also familiar with the passé composé, and maybe even the imparfait. But when you’re speaking French, you don’t just need to talk about what you did yesterday and today. You also need to talk about what you will do tomorrow! Among French verb tenses, le futur best fits the description.
The formation of le futur is relatively straightforward for all three major categories of regular verbs. The same set of endings can be applied consistently across the board:
Il, elle, on ____-a
Ils, elles ____-ont
For regular -er and -ir verbs, take the entire infinitive form of the verb (the same form you’ll typically find in a dictionary), and add the appropriate ending.
Le futur of manger (to eat)
Je – mangerai
Tu – mangeras
Il/elle/on – mangera
Nous – mangerons
Vous – mangerez
Ils/elles – mangeront
Le futur of finir (to finish)
Je – finirai
Tu – finiras
Il/elle/on – finira
Nous – finirons
Vous – finirez
Ils/elles – finiront
Once the appropriate ending is added, place the correct form of the verb in context.
- Je finirai mes devoirs ce soir.
I will finish my homework tonight.
- À partir de demain, je mangerai plus de fruits et de legumes frais.
Starting tomorrow, I will eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
For regular -re verbs, remove the final -e and add the same endings above listed above.
Le futur of rendre (to return)
Je – rendrai
Tu – rendras
Il/elle/on – rendra
Nous – rendrons
Vous – rendrez
Ils/elles – rendront
One advantage of using the future tense with -re verbs is that many of the irregular -re verbs act regular in the future tense. This includes mettre (to put or place), croire (to believe), boire (to drink), and connaître (to know or be familiar with). Once you have determined the verbal form to use in the future, like the previous forms, insert it into your sentence:
- Tu rendras ton livre a la bibliothèque demain?
You will return your book to the library tomorrow?
Many irregular verbs have irregular roots in le futur. A few of the most common include:
aller → ir-
être → ser-
avoir → aur-
faire → fer-
savoir → saur-
venir → viendr-
revenir → reviendr-
tenir → tiendr-
voir → verr-
revoir → reverr-
devoir → devr-
In context, you might say (or hear someone else say):
- Cet été, nous serons des étudiants parfaits!
This summer, we will be perfect students!
- Vous aurez froid sans manteau.
You will be cold without a jacket.
- Ils reviendront bientôt.
They will come back soon.
As a side note, in English, we can also express future events by using the verb “to go.” For example, you might hear someone say, “I’m going to do my homework later tonight.” This format works as an alternate future form in French, as well. Simply conjugate the verb aller in the present tense, and then add l’infinitif of the verb you need to put into the future.
- Je vais voir un film ce weekend.
I’m going to see a movie this weekend.
- On va étudier ensemble demain.
We are going to study together this weekend.
This is a relatively simple format to incorporate when speaking, because it is so similar to English – for many people, even easier than adding the futur endings. However, le futur is relatively simple, too; and with the complexities of some French verbs, it is a very useful addition to your linguistic toolbox!
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!
Photo by Elliot Gilfix