The Ultimate Guide to Spanish Future Tense - My Daily Spanish

The Ultimate Guide to Spanish Future Tense

“The past, present, and future walked into a bar ... it was tense.”

(We claim no credit for that so-bad-it’s-good joke!)

The future tense is obviously very important for—well—talking about the future. Whether you want to talk about your intended future plans or some other inevitability, you’ll need the future tense.

In Spanish there are two ways of expressing the future. There’s the ‘ir a + infinitive’ version, which is like ‘I am going to ...’ but today we’ll be focusing on the slightly trickier version, which is more like ‘I will ...’ This will involve learning a few verb endings and, as always, some irregulars!

How to form the future tense

Apart from the irregular ones, the formation of the future tense is pretty simple. All you do is take the infinitive and add on the appropriate ending:

Yo
-ás
Él/ella/usted
Nosotros-emos
Vosotros-éis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes-án

As well as being used to say what will happen, the future tense can be used in the sense of ordering someone to do something (“you WILL tidy your room”) and in the sense of ‘I suppose it must be the case’ (“she’ll be in her room, I reckon”). Let’s check out some examples of the various uses.

Spanish

English

Venderás tu coche.

You’re to sell your car.

Podéis ir a la fiesta, pero solo beberéis agua.

You can go to the party, but you’ll only drink water.

Serán las ocho.

It must be about 8 o’clock.

Estarán en la biblioteca.

They are probably in the library.

Iré a la fiesta.

I’ll go to the party.

El gato ronroneará si acaricias su lomo.

The cat will purr if you stroke his/her/its back.

Ya veremos.

We’ll see.

Conoceremos a los chicos.

We’ll meet the boys.

Tendréis muchas oportunidades.

You will have many opportunities.

Reirán* cuando vean las fotos.

They’ll laugh when they see the photos.

*A note about stress/emphasis: the bold letters in the table below show where the stress/emphasis will fall in the future tense.

Yo triunfaré
triunfarás
Él/ella/ustedtriunfará
Nosotrostriunfaremos
Vosotros triunfaréis
Ellos/ellas/ustedestriunfarán

This doesn’t change, which means that sometimes you’ll have to alter a stem. For instance, when we put reír into the future tense, we remove the accent from the ‘i' then add the appropriate ending, so that the stress stays on the bold syllable:

reír Pancho reirá

reír Nosotros reiremos

Exceptions

As usual in Spanish, there are exceptions to the rule. These need to be learnt, but luckily it only includes the stems, not the endings. For example, for ‘to want,’ instead of querer + é, we change the stem so we get querr + é.

Here are the main ones:

Spanish infinitive
English infinitive
Stem
Spanish example
English example
caberto fitcabr-Cabrá en el coche.It will fit in the car.
decirto saydir-Diré algo.I’ll say something.
haberto have (not to be confused with tener)*habr-Habrá tapas.There will be tapas.
hacerto do/to makehar-Harás la compra.You will do the shopping.
poderto be able topodr-Podremos ir.We’ll be able to go.
ponerto putpondr-Pondréis en práctica la teoría.You will put the theory into practice.
quererto wantquerr-Querrán verte.They’ll want to see you.
saberto knowsabr-Sabré mañana.I’ll find out tomorrow.
salirto leavesaldr-Saldrá pronto.He will leave soon
tenerto havetendr-Tendrás un montón de trabajo.You’ll have a lot of work.
valerto be worthvaldr-Valdrá la pena.It will be worth it.
venirto comevendr-Vendremos esta noche.We’ll come tonight.

*When the verb haber is used to mean ‘there is’/’there are’ or ‘there will be,’ it is always left in the singular, even if you’re saying that there are loads of things:

Hay un ordenador .–> There is a computer.

Hay tres ordenadores. –> There are three computers.

Habrá un ordenador. –> There will be a computer.

Habrá tres ordenadores. (NOT habrán) –> There will be three computers.

Trigger Phrases

There are certain phrases that you can use to introduce the future tense. If you want to use these phrases, just get your stem, choose your ending, and you’re ready to go!

SpanishEnglish
MañanaTomorrow
Pasado mañanaThe day after tomorrow
El fin de semanaAt the weekend
El domingoOn Sunday
La semana que vieneNext week
En diciembreIn December
La próxima vezNext time
De aquí a cinco añosIn five years’ time
En cuanto puedaAs soon as I can
Cuando sea mayorWhen I’m older
NuncaNever
Un díaOne day

Test

The best way to internalize what you’ve learnt is to put it into practice. Let’s have a go at translating some examples from Spanish to English and vice versa. Use the guide above and the vocab below. Once you’ve made an attempt, click to reveal the answer!

IrTo go
GanarTo win
El partidoThe match
La gentePeople

1. Iré a Puerto Rico el año que viene.

Click to see what it means in English. 

2. Ganaremos el partido.

Click to see what it means in English. 

3. Habrá mucha gente.

Click to reveal the correct meaning.

Now let’s take it up a notch, and go from English to Spanish ...

AlwaysSiempre
To loveAmar
Don’t worry!¡No te preocupes!
Good jobBuen trabajo
To cookCocinar
To voteVotar
ElectionLa elección
To smileSonreír (*remember the note about removing the accent from the stem!)
At the + masculine nounAl
To callLlamar
PoliceLa policía
MoneyEl dinero

4. I’ll always love Pablo.

Click to reveal the correct answer

5. Don’t worry, you (singular, informal) will do a good job.

Click to reveal the correct answer

6. Catrina will cook.

Click to reveal the correct answer

7. We’ll vote in the election tomorrow.

Click to reveal the correct answer

8. You (plural, informal) will smile at the prince.

Click to reveal the correct answer

9. They’ll call the police.

Click to reveal the correct answer

BONUS question (extra hard!)

10. Don’t worry! One day, the car will be worth loads, and you’ll be able to sell it. You’ll have lots of money.

Click to reveal the correct answer.

Well done if you made it to the end of the test!

Conclusion

Today you’ve learnt a new tense which you can use to talk about the future, give commands, and make suppositions. Try and practice a couple of phrases daily, and you’ll soon have mastered the future tense!

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About the Author Annabel Beilby

Annabel is a language-enthusiast from the UK. She studied Spanish and French at the University of Southampton (with an Erasmus study year in Madrid!) and recently graduated. She has interests across the Spanish-speaking world, and is a fan of language in general.

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