Grammar – Future Tense
See also Spanish Grammar
In Spanish, there are two common ways to express a future occurance. One way uses a structure similar to the English “going to + verb”. For example, I am going to go to the movies. The other way is similar to the English “will + verb”. For example, I will go to the movies.
Let’s look at a few examples that demonstrate how to express future actions and events in Spanish.
Using ir a + verb
The first way to express the future is to use ir a + verb.
Ir means “to go”. So this form is similar to the English, “going to + verb”.
Voy a ir al cine.
I’m going to go to the movies.
¿Vas a preparar la cena?
Are you going to cook dinner?
Va a correr por el parque.
He (or she) is going to run through the park.
Conjugating the future tense
The second way to express the future is to conjugate the future tense. To do this, you add an ending to the verb infinitive.
él, ella, ud. trabajará
ellos, ellas, uds. trabajarán
El próximo año, viajaré a Estados Unidos.
Next year I will travel to the United States.
Las clases terminarán pasado mañana.
The classes will finish the day after tomorrow.
Iré al supermercado contigo.
I will go to the supermarket with you.
A few verbs are irregular in the future tense. The most common ones are listed below. The stem changes are shown in bold.
caber cabr + é, ás, á, emos, án
Compound verbs use the same stem changes. For example, mantener is conjugated as “yo mantendré”.
Using the present tense to express a future event or action
In Spanish, actions that are going to occur in the near future are often expressed in the present tense.
Mañana, voy al centro.
Tomorrow, I’m going downtown.
The future perfect tense is used to express a future action that will have been completed before another future action.
The future perfect tense uses the future tense of haber and the past participle of the verb.
yo habré viajado
tú habrás trabajado
él, ella, ud. habrá escrito
nosotros habremos escuchado
ellos, ellas, uds. habrán terminado
Note that the past participle always ends in o.
Mañana a las 5, ya habré visto a Juan. By tomorrow at 5 o’clock, I already will have seen Juan.
The future perfect tense can also be used to make a supposition about something that has probably already happened. For example:
El dice que no tiene los papeles. ¿No se lo habrán dado? He says he doesn’t have the papers. Didn’t they give them to him? (they probably did)
The future perfect tense is also used in certain expressions. For example:
¿Se habrá cosa igual? Have you ever seen anything like it?