Learning Spanish? Overwhelmed by the big number of verb tenses?
I have good news about the Spanish future tense – it's one of the easier tenses to master, with similarities to future forms in English.
In this post, you'll learn about the three future tenses of Spanish:
- the simple future (also known as “imperfect”)
- the periphrastic future (don’t be afraid about the name, you'll learn about it in detail later)
- and the “perfect” future, which is less common, but still good to know
You'll learn how to conjugate these Spanish future tenses. And you'll see plenty of examples so you can see them in action. ¿Estás listo?
Spanish Future Tense: Simple Future
When you use the futuro simple (simple future tense in Spanish, also known as the imperfect future), you're talking about an action that will take place at a specific time in the future, regardless of whether it’s immediately or many years from now.
Conjugating verbs in the Spanish simple future is quite easy. All you have to do is add the appropriate ending, depending on the pronoun.
Here are some examples of sentences in the simple future:
- Trabajaré mucho para comprarme un coche (I will work hard to buy a car).
- María y yo cenaremos pizza esta noche (Maria and I are having pizza for dinner tonight).
- Nosotros veremos una película esta noche (We will watch a movie tonight).
- Vosotros viajaréis en autobús (You will travel by bus).
- Francisco nos llevará a conocer la ciudad el viernes (Francisco will take us to see the city on Friday).
Other Uses Of The Spanish Simple Future
The simple future tense in Spanish is also used to make hypotheses and to ask some questions in Spanish, as you'll see in the examples below:
- Si vas a la primera fila, verás mejor el concierto (If you go to the front row, you will see the concert better).
- Aprobarás el examen; solo debes estudiar (You are going to pass the exam; you just have to study).
- ¿Llegará Sandra en el tren de las diez? (Will Sandra arrive on the ten o’clock train?).
- Me imagino que estarás muy contento con tu nuevo trabajo (I imagine you are very happy with your new job).
In addition, the Spanish future tense in its simple form is also used to give some solemn orders. For example, the commandments in religion, such as No robarás (You shall/will not steal).
It’s also used to give orders:
- Te quedarás aquí hasta que regresé y le harás caso a tus abuelos (You will stay here until I return and you will obey your grandparents).
How To Conjugate Futuro Simple
Well, now it’s time to see how to conjugate verbs in the futuro simple. What you have to know is that when it comes to regular verbs, the process is very easy.
In the first, second, and third Spanish conjugations (verbs ending with AR, ER, and IR, respectively), the endings are exactly the same:
infinitive of the verb
|él or ella||á|
|ustedes or vosotros/as||án or éis|
But what about irregular verbs? These verbs have the peculiarity of changing their root when they’re conjugated in different tenses. The Spanish simple future is no exception.
What you have to do in these cases is to learn the new root of the verb, and then add the simple future ending that we saw in the previous chart.
Let’s see some irregular verbs conjugated in the simple future tense:
|Pronoun||Decir (to say)||Salir (to go out)||Querer (to want)||Poder (to be able to)|
|él or ella||dirá||saldrá||querrá||podrá|
|ustedes or vosotros/as||dirán or diréis||saldrán or saldréis||querrán or querréis||podrán or podréis|
Periphrastic Spanish Future (Going To Future)
The simple future isn't too complex (well, maybe the irregular verbs part gets a little difficult, but it’s all a matter of practice!).
Now, it’s time to talk about the futuro perifrástico, or “periphrastic future”. Don’t worry; you don’t need to learn the word perifrástico. I bet even Spanish speakers don't actually use it!
The futuro perifrástico is used when the action will take place in the near future.
Now the good news: the form is quite simple because it’s identical to its English counterpart: “going to” + the infinitive verb.
All you have to do is conjugate the verb ir (to go), followed by the preposition a (to), and finally add the action verb in the infinitive:
Verb ir + Preposition a + Infinitive of the verb
Now that you know the theory, let’s see a few examples of the use of the periphrastic future:
- Mañana voy a ir a la playa (Tomorrow I am going to go to the beach).
- ¿Van a venir a mi fiesta de cumpleaños? (Are you going to come to my birthday party?)
- El profesor va a tomarnos un examen el jueves (The teacher is going to give us an exam on Friday).
- ¿Qué vais a hacer este fin de semana? (What are you going to do this weekend?).
- Mi hija dice que va a ser abogada cuando crezca (My daughter says that she’s going to be a lawyer when she grows up).
How To Conjugate The Futuro Perifrástico
In the table below you can see how to conjugate the verb ir to use the periphrastic future.
|él or ella||va|
|ustedes or vosotros/as||van or vais|
In fact, in these two countries, the simple future that we saw earlier is hardly ever used, and is always replaced by the futuro perifrástico.
Now you know about the futuro simple and the futuro perifrástico, you could stop here. Those two forms of the Spanish future tense are the most useful in everyday life, without a doubt.
However, there is a third form of the Spanish future tense, although it's not as common: the futuro perfecto, also known as futuro compuesto.
The futuro perfecto is always conjugated with the verb haber (to have) in its future conjugation (habrá) followed by a verb.
The futuro perfecto or futuro compuesto has three possible uses, which you'll discover below.
First, to express that a future action will be completed before a specific time.
- En el noticiero, dijeron que, para las seis y media, ya habrá anochecido (On the news they say that by half past six it will be dark).
Second, to make an assumption about the past:
- ¿Por qué Matías está de mal humor? (Why is Matías in a bad mood?) / No sé. Habrá dormido mal anoche (I don’t know. He must have slept badly last night).
- ¿Por qué Juan llegó tan temprano? (Why did Juan arrive so early?) / Habrá tomado el tren de las nueve (He probably took the nine o’clock train).
- No sé por qué no enciende la luz (I don’t know why the light is not turning on) / Se habrá quemado la bombilla (Probably the light bulb is burned out).
And, in the third place, to make an assumption or guess about the future:
- Mi jefe quiere reunirse conmigo el viernes, pero ya me habré ido de viaje para ese entonces (My boss wants to meet with me on Friday, but I will have gone on my trip by then).
Final Thoughts On The Spanish Future Tense
You've just seen three different ways to use the Spanish future tense. Some forms are simpler, and certainly the most common in everyday speech, such as the futuro simple or imperfecto and the futuro perifrástico.
On the other hand, the futuro perfecto or futuro compuesto, is a bit more difficult, so don’t be overwhelmed if you don't get it straight away.
I invite you to continue learning Spanish through our StoryLearning Spanish podcast and our StoryLearning Spanish YouTube channel. There, you can listen to the future tense and other verb tenses in action!