Different ways of talking about the future

There are two main tenses for talking about the future:

  • The immediate future is used to say what you are going to do or what is going to happen, eg:
    • voy a hacer mis deberes (I'm going to do my homework)
    • voy a tener hijos dentro de diez años (I'm going to have children within the next ten years)
  • The future tense is used to say what will happen, eg:
    • iré al cine con mis amigos (I will go to the cinema with my friends)
    • visitaremos todos los sitios turísticos (we will visit all of the tourist sites)

Some useful time phrases for talking about future plans include:

mañanatomorrow
la semana que vienenext week
el año que vienenext year
en el futuroin the future
después de mis exámenesafter my exams
en los próximos cinco añosin the next five years
más tardelater on

Other ways of talking about the future

The following structures can also be used to talk about future plans:

querer + infinitive (to want to), eg quiero ir a la fiesta (I want to go to the party).

tener ganas de + infinitive (to want to), eg tengo ganas de ir a la universidad (I want to go to university).

esperar + infinitive (to hope to), eg espero sacar buenas notas (I hope to get good grades).

tener la intención de + infinitive (to intend to), eg tengo la intención de ir de vacaciones (I intend to go on holiday).

intentar + infinitive (to intend to), eg intento viajar de primera clase (I intend to travel first class).

In conversation, the present tense can sometimes be used to discuss an upcoming event, eg salimos mañana (we leave tomorrow - in other words, we will leave tomorrow).

The future tense can be used to say what will happen if something else occurs, eg si hago mis deberes, saldré con mis amigos (If I do my homework, I will go out with my friends).