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Forming the Future Tense

Future-Tense Ending Usually Added to the Infinitive

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The future tense of Spanish is probably the easiest of all to understand. Not only is its use straightforward and much as in English, but its formation is irregular for far fewer verbs than with the other tenses and is the same for all three infinitive endings (-ar, -er and -ir).

As you would expect, the future tense is typically used for verbs whose action will take place sometime in the future. Generally, it is the equivalent of the "will + verb" form in English in sentences such as "I will go" or "she will eat."

With regular verbs, the future tense is formed by adding endings to the infinitive as shown in boldface in the list below. Although the verb hablar (to speak) is used as an example, the future is formed in the same way for all regular verbs:

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

If you're familiar with the conjugation of the verb haber, you may notice that these endings are the same as the present tense of haber (an auxiliary verb meaning "to have"), minus the initial h. Presumably, at some time in the distant past, a conjugated form haber placed after the infinitive was used to form the future tense.

Since the ending is placed after the infinitive and includes the syllable that is stressed in the verb, you don't have to worry about the stem changes that are common in the conjugation of many irregular verbs. And since the future tense is a later development in the language, there overall are fewer irregular verbs in the future tense to be concerned with. Even some of the most highly irregular verbs (such as ser, estar and ir) are regular in the future tense. In general, most of the verbs that are irregular in the future tense modify and/or shorten the infinitive, but they all have the correct ending otherwise.

Here are the most common examples:

  • caber (to fit): cabré, cabrás, cabrá, cabremos, cabréis, cabrán
  • decir (to say): diré, dirás, ...
  • haber (to have): habré, habrás, ...
  • hacer (to make or do): haré, harás, ...
  • querer (to want): querré, querrás, ...
  • poder (to be able): podré, podrás, ...
  • poner (to put): pondré, pondrás, ...
  • saber (to know): sabré, sabrás, ...
  • salir (to leave): saldré, saldrás, ...
  • tener (to have): tendré, tendrás, ...
  • valer (to have value): valdré, valdrás, ...
  • venir (to come): vendré, vendrás, ...
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