The Future Tense
Updated: Aug 21, 2021
The future tense (le futur simple) is used to talk about what will happen or what will be true in the future.
It is often used with time phrases, such as: tomorrow (demain), next week (la semaine prochaine), next year (l'année prochaine) or in the future (à l'avenir).
In English, the future tense is often shown by using will (or its shorter form: 'll ) followed by the verb.
Next year I will study French at university.
Next year I'll study French at university.
In French, the modal "will" cannot be translated, instead we conjugate the verb in the future.
How to conjugate in the future tense:
Step 1: Take the future stem of the verb
For -ER and -IR verbs: the future stem is the same as the infinitive
For -RE verbs: remove the final -e from the infinitive
Step 2: add the correct endings
Endings for the future tense are: -ai, -as, -a, -ons, -ez, -ont
See the table below for the conjugation of the verbs parler, choisir and perdre in the future tense:
Je ne parlerai plus de mon projet. I will no longer speak about my project.
Elle choisira de rester à la maison. She will choose to stay home.
Ils perdront leur crédibilité. They will lose their credibility.
Tip: A way to remember the endings for the future tense is to think about the conjugation of the verb AVOIR in the present tense.
Apart from the nous and vous forms, the endings for the future tense are the same as the conjugated AVOIR verb in the present tense (j'ai, tu as, il/elle/on a, ils/elles ont)
Spelling irregularities with -ER verbs:
Some -ER verbs have spelling irregularities. Here are the most common ones:
- for verbs ending in -eler (like appeler): the letter 'l' is doubled when conjugated in the future tense. This affects the pronunciation of the first e (which becomes an "ay" sound).
- for verbs ending in -eter (like jeter): the letter "t" is doubled when conjugated in the future tense. This affects the pronunciation of the first e (which becomes an "ay" sound).
Note that acheter is an exception -see below
-for verbs in -oyer (like nettoyer): the letter y changes to an i.
-for verbs in -ayer (like payer): there are two possible spellings with either a y or an i.
-for verbs such as lever and acheter: the first e changes to è.
See the table below for the conjugation of appeler, jeter, nettoyer, payer and acheter in the future tense:
Note that the pronoun "je" becomes "j'" when the next word starts with a vowel, the letter h or the letter y.
Irregular verbs in the future tense:
Some verbs have irregular stems in the future tense. Their stems must be learnt as they do not follow the rule seen above.
Here are the most common irregular stems:
Reflexive verbs in the future tense:
The future tense of reflexive verbs is formed in the same way as other verbs, with the exception of the reflexive pronouns (me, te, se, nous, vous, se) which must be included.
The reflexive pronoun is placed before the verb.
See below the conjugation of s'entendre (to get along).
Note that me, te and se become m', t' and s' if the next word starts with a vowel, the letter h or the letter y.
For negative sentences, ne...pas goes around the conjugated verb, including the reflexive pronoun.
Example: je ne m'entendrai pas avec sa mère. I will not get along with his mother.
For French A Level students with any exam board:
For French GCSE students with any exam board:
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