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Home > French > Grammar > The future

French

The future

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Future tense

Let's look now at the future tense. It is important to recognise the future tense and understand how to use it.

Use

  • The future tense is used to describe what will happen in the future
  • It usually refers to a less immediate future
  • It is more common in written French

Formation

The endings for the future tense are: -ai, -as, -a, -ons, -ez, -ont.

These endings are added to the stem of the verb which is the infinitive in this case.

The final -e of -re verbs is dropped before adding the future ending.

  • je - part of the verb ends in -ai
  • tu - part of the verb ends in -as
  • il/elle - part of the verb ends in -a
  • nous - part of the verb ends in -ons
  • vous - part of the verb ends in -ez
  • ils/elles - part of the verb ends in -ont

-er verbs

regarder : to watch
je regarderaiI will watch
tu regarderasyou will watch
il/elle regarderahe/she will watch
nous regarderonswe will watch
vous regarderezyou will watch
ils/elles regarderontthey will watch

-ir verbs

finir : to finish
je finiraiI will finish
tu finirasyou will finish
il/elle finirahe/she will finish
nous finironswe will finish
vous finironsyou will finish
ils/elles finirontthey will finish

-re verbs

vendre : to sell (vendre minus the 'e')
je vendraiI will sell
tu vendrasyou will sell
il/elle vendrahe/she will sell
nous vendronswe will sell
vous vendrezyou will sell
ils/elles vendrontthey will sell

A good way to remember the endings is that the endings are very similar to the present tense of avoir - j'ai, tu as, il a, nous avons, vous avez, ils ont.

Common Irregular Verbs

Quite a few verbs are irregular. This means they do not follow the pattern of basing the future stem on the infinitive. Don't be put off by this - remember the endings are always the same but they have irregular stems.

List of common irregular verbs

allerj'iraiI will go
avoirj'auraiI will have
boireje boiraiI will drink
devoirje devraiI will have to
êtreje seraiI will be
faireje feraiI will make/do
pouvoirje pourraiI will be able
venirje viendraiI will see
voirje verraiI will see
vouloirje voudraiI will want

French is more precise than English. After the word "quand" which means "when", the future tense is used rather than the present (if you're referring to events in the future.)

  • Quand je serai riche - When I am rich
  • Quand le train arrivera - When the train arrives

Remember there are more exercises in the General Writing bite on Future Plans.

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