Future tense

Do you know how to use the future tense in Irish? Learn some helpful words and phrases and test yourself on others you may already know!

The future tense describes an event which is will take place in the future or a state that will happen.

Some examples in English include I will go, Seán will eat, they will drive etc.

To put a verb into the present tense, an understanding of the different types of verbs in Irish is needed. To find out more about identifying verbs, check this guide out.

Before we start, remember that...

  • verbs with a, o and u as the last vowel are broad
  • verbs with e or i as the last vowel are slender

also...

  • verbs with only one syllable are short verbs
  • verbs with more than one syllable and have either an -igh or -aigh ending are long verbs
  • verbs with more than one syllable but do not have the -igh or -aigh ending are syncopated verbs

Learn more about short, long and syncopated verbs as well as broad and slender vowels in this guide.

Step 1

To put the verb in the future tense first remove the endings -igh, -aigh, i or ai if there is one.

cuir

mol

éirigh

cuardaigh

oscail

imir

cuir

mol

éir

cuard

oscl

imr

Step 2

  • Add -fidh to short slender verbs.

  • Add -faidh to short broad verbs.

  • Add -eoidh to long / syncopated slender verbs.

  • Add -óidh to long / syncopated broad verbs.

cuir

mol

éir

cuard

oscl

imr

is slender so ⇒

is broad so ⇒

is slender so ⇒

is broad so ⇒

is broad so ⇒

is slender so ⇒

cuirfidh

molfaidh

éireoidh

cuardóidh

osclóidh

imreoidh

Step 3

Don't forget to add the subject, like the pronouns , ,muid, sibh or siad after the verb to show who is doing the action.

  • Cuirfidh scairt ort anocht. - I'll call you tonight.
  • Mólfaidh na páistí níos moille. - You will praise the children later.
  • Éireoidh muid ar ball beag. - We will get up shortly.
  • Cuardóidh sibh ar mo mhála caillte. - You (pl) will search for my lost bag.
  • Osclóidh an siopa an-luath amárach. - The shop will open very early tomorrow.
  • Imreoidh Pól cispheil an mhí seo chugainn. - Pól will play basketball next month.

Negative and question forms

The negative form is used when you say you *won't be doing something.

For example, I will do becomes I will not do in the negative.

To put a verb in the negative form in the future tense in Irish, do two things:

  • Add before the verb
  • Aspirate or add a séimhiú (h) to the verb if it begins with a consonant - don't do this to vowels.
PositiveNegative
cuirfidh méI will putní chuirfidh méI will not put
ólfaidh méI will drinkní ólfaidh méI will not drink
críochnóidh méI will finishní chríochnóidh méI will not finish
éireoidh méI will risení éireoidh méI will not rise
osclóidh méI will openní osclóidh méI will not open

It is exactly the same when talking about others. For example, ní dhruidfidh mé mo leabhar - I will not close my book would be ní dhruidfidh sé a leabhar - he will not close his book.

Use the question form when you want to ask if someone did something.

For example, I will go becomes will I go? in the question form.

Asking questions is similar to using the negative form. To put a verb in the question form in the past tense in Irish, do two things:

  • Add an before the verb
  • Eclipse or add an urú at the start of the verb if it begins with certain consonants - but don't do this to vowels.
PositiveNegative
cuirfidh méI will putan gcuirfidh mé?will I put?
ólfaidh méI will drinkan ólfaidh mé?will I drink?
críochnóidh méI will finishan gcríochnóidh mé?will I finish?
éireoidh méI will risean éireoidh mé?will I rise?
osclóidh méI will openan osclóidh mé?will I open?

It is exactly the same when asking about others. For example, druidfidh sé a leabhar - he will close his book would become an ndruidfidh sé a leabhar? - Will he close his book?

Learn more about adding a séimhiú or urú to words in this guide.

Irregular verbs

There are eleven irregular verbs in Irish. These verbs are called irregular because they do not follow the rules of the future tense, or rules of other tenses.

They are the most commonly used verbs and it is important to know them.

The table below shows these verbs in the positive, negative and question forms.

PostiveNegativeQuestion
verb gotéighrachaidh méní rachaidh méan rachaidh tú?
verb bebeidh méní bheidh méan mbeidh tú?
verb do, makedéandéanfaidh méní dhéanfaidh méan ndéanfaidh tú?
verb seefeicfeicfidh méní fheicfidh méan bhfeicfidh tú?
verb sayabairdéarfaidh méní déarfaidh méan ndéarfaidh tú?
verb getfaighgheobhaidh méní bhfaighidh méan bhfaighidh tú?
verb eatithíosfaidh méní íosfaidh méan íosfaidh tú?
verb hearclois / cluincloisfidh mé / cluinfidh méní chluisfidh mé / ní chluinfidh méan gcloisfidh tú? / an gcluinfidh tú?
verb givetabhairtabharfaidh méní thabharfaidh méan dtabharfaidh tú?
verb cometartiocfaidh méní thiocfaidh méan dtiocfaidh tú?
verb catchbeir arbéarfaidh mé arní bhéarfaidh mé aran mbéarfaidh tú ar?