So, are you acquainted with the future tense in Spanish? What are your plans for the future (or at least the upcoming weekend)? We hope your plans include learning Spanish online, speaking of which we have good news for you. Stay put and you’ll soon find out!
Unlike the past tense, the future tense in Spanish is pretty straightforward. We use it when talking about things we will do in five minutes, days, or years from now, but also about those we are not willing to take care of, ever. We may find it featured as simple future tense and the near future tense. At a first glance, we can have the impression that the simple future and the near future are interchangeable, but they are subtly differentiated, as we will soon find out.
THE SIMPLE FUTURE TENSE IN SPANISH
Perhaps you are a daily-horoscope buff. We hope you do not become offended by this, because it is simply a fun way to get started, even if at the expense of a fellow American who’s down on his luck.
You may want not to leave home without having a glimpse of anything fate has in store for you. Suppose, then, you are a Gemini (in Spanish, Géminis; BTW, what about the names of the star signs? Do you know or remember them?).
Our poor Gemini subject had better stay home because according to this morning’s daily horoscope:
- Por la mañana, un piano caerá desde uno de los pisos de arriba (A piano will fall down from upstairs in the morning).
- Si sobrevives, terminarás en el hospital (If you survive, you will end up in the hospital).
- Recibirás muchas visitas y tu jefe te aumentará el sueldo por la tarde (In the afternoon, many people will come to see you and your boss will give you a raise).
- Te contaremos más si renuevas suscripción con nosotros (We will tell you more if you renew your subscription to our newspaper).
Yes, the whole thing makes as much sense as most fortune-telling news sections. And this is important, because the simple future tense in Spanish basically states things scheduled to occur in the future, without taking much real evidence into account.
HOW TO BUILD IT
But here’s the thing: in order to make the simple future tense come to life, you only need to stick an infinitive and appropriate future tense endings in Spanish.
If we pick any of the verbs out of the above examples (for instance, terminar [to end, to finish, to complete]), the results will be:
(*We kindly remind you that in Spanish America “usted” and “ustedes” are the way to address someone with whom you are not well acquainted, or to whom you need to show respect to an extent and at least initially. So, it is not mandatory that you use usted/ustedes to address any authority figure [supervisors, teachers, professors, the elder] forever, especially if you become good friends.
For example, let’s use some of the underscored verbs from the mock horoscope: by using the simple future tense in Spanish, you can state:
- Future intentions or commitments:
Te contaremos más si renuevas tu suscripción con nosotros;
Terminarás en el hospital; recibirás muchas visitas;
- Also, likelihood and condition:
A: ¿Qué será de él ahora? (Whatever will become of him?)
B: Pues se recuperará si va a terapia (Well, he will be back on his feet if he goes to therapy).
Of course, although irregular verbs do exist in the simple future tense in Spanish, the formula remains the same. Look at verbs such as poner (put, place), tener (have, possess), salir (go out), venir (come). Do you notice they all are -er and -ir verbs? Simply drop the e in either –er or -ir and place a d before the future tense endings. We are not adding personal pronouns since, as you know, they can be omitted (the verb tells you all what you need to know as for the tense and the doer). Also, keep in mind that usted/ustedes have not ceased to exist with these exceptions; simply, we already know how to build them. So:
|-emos||pondremos tendremos vendremos saldremos|
Other cases (e.g., caber [fit], haber [have, there is/there are], poder [be able to], saber [know], querer [want]) just require to drop the vowel within the infinitive ending and add the future tense endings. Here you are:
|-emos||pondremos tendremos vendremos saldremos|
Last but not least as for irregular verbs, we have those which are real shape-shifters (their infinitive’s base form also changes). However, in Spanish, it is just two of them: decir (say, where dec-ir>dir) and hacer (do, make, hac-er>har)
THE NEAR FUTURE TENSE IN SPANISH
Another way to express future intentions is by using the formula comprising ir + a (be + going to in the English progressive or continuous tenses) + infinitive. You only need to apply changes on ir depending on the doer. Regularly, ir goes in the present tense.
The near future tense in Spanish expresses:
- Imminent future plans or intentions to which there is a deeper commitment:
After this accident, I won’t be back in the office: I’m going to make my long-time dream of becoming a writer come true (Después de este accidente, no regresaré al trabajo de oficina: voy a cumplir mi viejo sueño de convertirme en escritor).
- Deductions based on actual evidence from the present:
The sky is overcast, I think it’s going to be a heavy shower (El cielo está encapotado, creo que va a caer un chaparrón)
So, is there any difference between the simple future tense and the near future tense in Spanish? The answer, as you have been warned on, is yes. The simple future shows events that are scheduled to take place in some time to come (whether it is 10 minutes from now or when we grow older). But it remains a tad bit of a hypothetic, although not unreal, event. When events are worded up in the near future tense, there is a more committed movement toward that future from the present. If the commitment is still deeper (or the event is imminent), we can even express it in the simple present tense.
- Simple future tense:
Te darán de alta en dos semanas (You’ll be discharged from the hospital in two weeks)
- Near future tense:
Te van a dar/van a darte (note you can phrase this out either way) de alta antes de tiempo por recuperación milagrosa (You’ll be discharged ahead of time on miracolous recovery grounds)
- Present tense:
Te dan de alta en veinte minutos (You’re being discharged in twenty minutes)
HOW TO BUILD IT
As to the structure, ir occurs in the present tense; just add a + infinitive:
AND AS A FINISH…
Well, it seems the future is now at your fingertips, at least in language terms! We hope this article has been useful to you in learning about the future tense in Spanish. Let us complete some exercises to make sure of that.
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Now that you know everything about the future tense in Spanish, discover the past tense in Spanish!