French Grammar: The Future Tense

French Grammar: The Future Tense

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French Grammar: The Future Tense
la grammaire française: le temps futur

The future tense is used to tell what will take place in the future. In order to talk about what will happen in your future or to understand what others will do you will need to understand the future tense in French.


You may have already learned the simple way to express the future in French: ALLER + INFINITIVE.  This is a way to talk about things that are going to happen, implying that the action is fairly immediate.  In everyday conversation, this construction is used more frequently than the future tense.

To form the future tense of regular verbs in French, you add the future endings to the infinitive form (for ER and IR verbs, you don’t need to drop the ER or IR ending; for RE verbs, you need to drop the final E).

NOTE: The French future tense endings look very similar (with the exception of the “nous” and “vous” forms) to the present tense of the verb AVOIR.  So remembering the present tense conjugations of AVOIR can help you remember the future tense endings for all verbs – even the irregular ones!

PARLER (to speak) FINIR (to finish) VENDRE (to sell) ENDINGS
Je parlerai finirai vendrai ai
Tu parleras finiras vendras as
Il/Elle/On parlera finira vendra a
Nous parlerons finirons vendrons ons
Vous parlerez finirez vendrez ez
Ils/Elles parleront finiront vendront ont

There are some irregular verbs that use a different stem in the future tense, but they ALL take the same endings as the regular future tense verbs.

aller : ir-
to go

avoir : aur-
to have (possess)

courir : courr-
to run

devenir : deviendr-
to become

devoir : devr-
to have to / ought to / must / to owe

envoyer : enverr-
to send

être : ser-
to be

faire : fer-
to do / to make

mourir : mourr-
to die

pleuvoir : pleuvr-
to rain (NOTE: This verb is used in the 3
rd person masculine singular ONLY ->  Il pleuvra )

pouvoir : pourr-
to be able / can

recevoir : recevr-
to receive

revenir : reviendr-
to come back / to return

savoir : saur-
to know (facts, information) / to know how (to do something)

tenir : tiendr-
to hold / to keep

venir : viendr-
to come

voir : verr-
to see

vouloir : voudr-
to want


(a) The future tense form of Il y a (there is / there are) is Il y aura (there will be).

(b) The future tense form of Il faut (It is necessary – from the verb falloir) is Il faudra (it will be necessary)

(c) Verbs in which the consonant just before the infinitive ending is doubled in the present tense (e.g., appeler) have this same change in all forms of the future tense.

appeler -> appell -> j’appellerai
to call

jeter -> jett -> je jetterai
to throw

(d) Verbs in which letter e becomes è in the present tense (e.g., acheter) have this same change in all forms of the future tense.

acheter -> achèt -> j’achèterai
to buy

mener -> mèn -> je mènerai
to lead

Exceptions to (d) include such verbs as espérer and préférer, which keep the é just before the infinitive ending:

espérer -> espér -> j’espérerai
to hope

préférer -> préfér -> je préférerai
to prefer


(a) The future tense in French is used very similarly to the future tense in English to express what will happen :

Nous arriverons la semaine prochaine.
We will arrive next week.

Tu viendras avec moi?
Will you come with me?

Ils seront à la maison demain soir?
Will they (masculine) be home tomorrow evening?

(b) The future tense is also used in French to give instructions :

Voici les mots de vocabulaire que vous étudierez.
Here are the vocabulary words that you (formal) will study.

Jécris les verbes que tu conjugueras.
I am writing the verbs that you (familiar) will conjugate.

(c) The future tense is also used in French when an action has not yet happened.  This usually occurs in conjunction with another future action or a command in the main clause.

Quand il arrivera, nous mangerons.
When he will arrive, we will eat.  (When he arrives, we will eat.)

Une fois que les étudiants seront là, je commencerai la conférence.
Once the students are there, I will begin the lecture.  (Once the students will be there, I will begin the lecture.


(a) Use ALLER + INFINITIVE to indicate an immediate future action, just like we say “going to (do something)” in English:

Qu’est-ce que tu vas faire?
What are you (familiar) going to do?

Je vais déjeuner et puis je vais aller au centre commercial.
I am going to have lunch and then I am going to go to the mall.

(b) Just as we do in English, you can also use the present tense in French in order to express what someone is doing in the relatively immediate future:

Cet après-midi nous faisons des courses.  Tu viens avec nous?

This afternoon, we are running errands.  Are you (familiar) coming with us?


quand : when

lorsque : when

aussitôt que : as soon as

dès que : as soon as

autant que : as long as

une fois que : once

en même temps que : at the same time as


Je pêcherai avec mon grand-père dimanche.
I will fish with my grandfather on Sunday.

Il sortira avant que le film commencera.
He will leave before the movie begins.

Si tu n’as pas d’eau, elle voudra du lait.
If you (familiar) don’t have water, she will want milk.

Nous arriverons lundi.
We will arrive Monday.

Elles iront à la fête.
They (feminine) will go to the party.

Je me coucherai tôt.
I will go to bed early.

Tu liras le livre.
You (familiar) will read the book.

Elle écoutera la radio.
She will listen to the radio.

On s’amusera beaucoup!
We will have a lot of fun!