1. Education

The Future Tense
Spanish for Beginners
The conjugation of the future tense in Spanish is easiest of all the conjugations. It is the same for all three types of verbs (-ar, -er and -ir), and the ending is attached to the infinitive instead of a verb stem. Furthermore, there are few verbs that are irregular in the future tense, and those that are are still recognizable.

The following chart shows the future tense endings using the example of hablar (to speak):

yo (I) hablaré (I will speak)
(you, singular informal) -ás hablarás (you will speak)
él (he), ella (she), usted (you, singular formal) hablará (he/she will speak)
nosotros, nosotras (we) -emos hablaremos (we will speak)
vosotros, vosotras (you, plural informal) -éis hablaréis (you will speak)
ellos (they), ellas (they), ustedes (you, plural formal) -án hablarán (they will speak, you will speak)

Most of the verbs that are irregular in the future tense modify the final syllable of the infinitive. For example, the future first-person singular of salir (to leave) is saldré, and the first-person singular future of tener is tendré. Both of those verbs, like most verbs irregular in the future, follow that pattern for all persons.

Uses of the future tense: While the conjugation (except for the few irregular verbs) is easy, what can be confusing is the uses of the future tense. As its name implies, the future tense is often used in discussing things that will happen. As in the above examples, the future tense becomes the equivalent of the English "will" followed by the verb. Tendré tres hijos, I will have three children. Nadará mañana, she will swim tomorrow. The future tense also two other common uses:

The "suppositional future" — The future tense can be used to indicate likelihood or probability. The translation will depend on the context; in question form, it can indicate uncertainty. Serán las nueve, it's probably 9 o'clock. Tendrás hambre, you must be hungry. ¿Qué horas serán? I wonder what time it is. Estará enferma, she's most likely sick.

Emphatic command — As in English, the future tense can be used to indicate an intense demand. Comerás la espinaca, you WILL eat the spinach. Saldrás a las nueve, you WILL leave at 9.


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