Spanish Future Tense – el Futuro
Written by tutor Dominic J.
The future tense of any language corresponds to events that have yet to occur. For example, in English, one may say, “I will work on my homework” or “I am going to the store later tonight”. In Spanish, if one knows the infinitive form of Spanish verbs, knowing the future tense is quite simple.
Examples of –ar verbs are: cocinar (to cook), caminar (to walk), grabar (to record).
The following table provides a conjugation for all regular –ar verbs:
As you can see, all you have to do is take the infinitive form of the verb (cocinar, caminar, grabar), and just add the appropriate ending depending on whom the subject is of the verb.
Examples: I will cook dinner tonight. -> Yo cocinaré la cena esta noche.
My mother will cook dinner tomorrow. -> Mi mamá cocinará la cena mañana.
You may be wondering why there is not an accent on the Nosotros form of the verb. This is due to the fact that the accent (if it were to be placed) would be on the second-to-last syllable of the word. It is understood in Spanish that the second-to-last (also called penultimate) syllable always has the emphasis (i.e., no accent required) unless otherwise indicated (via the accent).
The same format for –ar verbs follows for verbs ending in –er and –ir.
Examples of regular –er verbs: comer (to eat), correr (to run), beber (to drink)
Examples of regular –ir verbs: vivir (to live), escribir (to write), sonreir (to smile)
|Person||-er Ending||-ir Ending|
Examples: I will run after school. -> Yo correré despues de salir de la escuela.
We will live near the university’s campus. -> Viviremos cerca del campo de la Universidad.
The future tense is arguably one of the easier verb tenses in Spanish to understand because the structure is consistent across –ar, -er and –ir verbs.
There are several verbs in Spanish that are irregular. However, unlike in present tense, the verb endings do not change in future. Here is an example of the difference between regular and irregular verbs in the present tense:
Tener (irregular) becomes tengo, tienes, tiene, tenemos, teneis and tienen
Comer (regular) becomes como, comes, come, comemos, comeis, and comen
As you can see, in the “yo” form, “tener” becomes “tengo” (the ending changed from what one might expect, like “teno”) but “comer”, a regular verb, follows the conjugation and becomes “como”. This phenomenon does not occur in future tense, another reason why future tense is an easier one to grasp.
You may have also noticed that the root word in “tener” changed as well (tengo -> tienes). This is something that occurs in future tense…in fact, it’s what makes these particular verbs irregular.
Here are some examples of irregular verbs (there are others):
Hacer (to do/to make), poner (to put), decir (to say), salir (to leave), tener (to have), saber (to know)
The way the root word changes is consistent across all 6 possible subjects…for example, the verb “hacer”:
You can see that the root of “hacer”, “hac”, changes to “har” before we add the appropriate ending.
The other verbs listed above change in the following format (“yo” form only listed):
To find the other 5 conjugations corresponding to Tú, El/Ella/Ud., etc., simply follow the future tense format and replace the “é” with the appropriate ending.
At the end of the day, because these are irregular, you will simply have to remember how they are conjugated. Fortunately, there aren’t too many, but they tend to occur in some of the more commonly used verbs.
This is merely another way of writing future tense that is more common if one is talking about an event that is to occur in the near future. The analog in English would be, “I am going to…”
Examples: I am going to go to the store in 5 minutes. -> Voy a ir a la tienda en 5 minutos.
They are going to play basketball in the gym. -> Van a jugar basquetbol en el gimnasio.
As you can see, all you really have to do is conjugate the verb “ir” according to the subjects corresponding to the action, and then add “a” and the infinitive form of the verb that is to be done.
Future Tense Quiz
Los ninos _________ al parque cuando deje de llover.
(The boys will walk to the park when it stops raining.)
Nosotros _______ a comer a las 6 de la tarde.
(We are going to eat at 6 in the afternoon.)
Tu hermano no _______ tiempo para planchar su camisa.
(Your brother will not have time to iron his shirt.)
Yo _______ a mi mamá que rompí la planta.
(I will tell my mom that I broke the plant.)
“Voy/Vas/Va a…” is another way of talking in future tense, but should only be used when referring to events in the near future.
The root word and the verb ending change for irregular verbs across the 6 different subjects in future tense.