When you learn Spanish, the future tense conjugation might seem scary at first. No need to fret. If you get the basic rules down, you’ll learn it fast.
Understanding how to conjugate the future tense in Spanish allows us to speak about events that haven’t happened yet, and those that will or may happen later. Without it, it would be difficult to make appointments, promises, or predictions about an event we think may or may not happen.
There are three ways of conjugating the future tense in Spanish and we’ve prepared a basic guide to help you learn them. These three forms are:
1. Simple future
You can use the simple future tense (futuro simple) to describe future actions, intentions, assumptions or promises. This form can be used without having to mention the specific time that the event is supposed to occur. It can stand for something that will happen later today, in three years or in a distant, unknown future.
Here are some examples:
- Ahorita haré las compras.
I will do the shopping right now.
- Nos volveremos a encontrar.
We’ll meet again.
- ¿Me visitarás la próxima semana?
Will you visit me next week?
How do we conjugate the simple future tense in Spanish?
The first thing to keep in mind is that, in Spanish, future tense endings are not affected by whether the verb is regular or irregular. The endings are all the same for both kinds. However, the subject and pronoun do affect the ending of the verb.
Here’s a chart of the Spanish future tense endings used for both regular and irregular verbs:
|Él, ella, usted (he, she, formal you)||-á|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes (male and female they, plural you)||-án|
Future tense of regular Spanish verbs
For regular verbs, we add the endings above to the infinitive form of the verb. Let’s take the verb bailar (to dance) as an example:
|Subject||Conjugated verb (bailar)|
|Él, ella, usted (he, she, formal you)||Bailar-á|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes (male and female they, plural you)||Bailar-án|
Here we have an example of a full sentence:
- Yo bailaré hasta que me duelan los pies. ¿Bailarás conmigo?
I’ll dance until my feet hurt. Will you dance with me?
Future tense of irregular Spanish verbs
When it comes to irregular verbs, we need to pay attention to the infinitive form of the verb. It will change to a new stem. However, like mentioned above, the endings in the chart will remain the same.
In this case, we must memorize the new stem of the most common irregular verb and then add the appropriate ending. We’ll take the irregular verb saber (to know) as an example:
|Subject||Conjugated verb (saber)|
|Él, ella, usted (he, she, formal you)||Sabr-á|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes (male and female they, plural you)||Sabr-án|
Notice the difference? It’s not saberé, saberás or saberemos. We removed the -e-, created a new stem (sabr-) and added the appropriate ending.
- Tú sabrás qué hacer en su momento.
You will know what to do when the time comes.
2. “Going to” form (“ir a” + infinitive)
This form is easier than learning the simple future tense. If you’re a beginner, this is a great trick to start using the Spanish future tense conjugation. It is easy, especially for native English speakers, to pick up. It mirrors a common English phrase (“I’m going to, you’re going to…”) and it works for both regular and irregular verbs.
In this form, we conjugate the verb ir (to go) in the present tense and we add the preposition “a” + the infinitive form of the action verb. Let’s take the verb bailar (to dance) as an example again:
|Subject||Conjugated ‘ir’ + a||Infinitive of action verb|
|Yo (I)||Voy a||Bailar|
|Tú (you)||Vas a||Bailar|
|Él, ella, usted (he, she, formal you)||Va a||Bailar|
|Nosotros (we)||Vamos a||Bailar|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes (male and female they, plural you)||Van a||Bailar|
Let’s adapt the examples we discussed earlier to this form:
- Yo voy a bailar hasta que me duelan los pies. ¿Vas a bailar conmigo?
I’m going to dance until my feet hurt. Are you going to dance with me?
- Tú vas a saber qué hacer en su momento.
You’re going to know what to do when the time comes.
This form can be used verbally in the same way as the simple future tense, but it’s generally not suitable for academic texts.
3. Future perfect
This is a more advanced form of conjugating the future tense in Spanish and it’s less common than the previous two. The future perfect (futuro perfecto) is used to refer to actions that will be finished sometime in the future.
- Ya habré terminado mi tarea para entonces.
I will have finished my homework by then.
It can also be used to make an assumption about something that may have happened:
- Él no se quejó de la comida, habrá quedado contento.
He didn’t complain about the food, he must’ve been happy with it.
To use this form, we conjugate the irregular verb haber (to have done something) in the simple future tense and add the past participle of the action verb. Let’s take the verb terminar (to finish) as an example:
|Subject||Conjugated ‘haber’||Action verb (p.p.)|
|Él, ella, usted (he, she, formal you)||Habrán||Terminado|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes (male and female they, plural you)||Habrán||Terminado|
Negative future tense sentences
Affirmative statements are straightforward, and negative statements are just as easy. We just put “no” before the conjugated verb or form:
- Ellos no limpiarán ese desorden.
They won’t clean up that mess.
- Yo no voy a caminar tanto.
I’m not going to walk that much
- Ella ya nunca me llamó, no habrá querido verme de nuevo.
She never called me, she must’ve not wanted to see me again.
Will you practice it?
The Spanish future tense conjugation is a part of the Spanish language that will help you communicate assertively and with confidence. Especially if you plan on making Spanish an asset for your personal or professional life. The good news is that it’s a pretty easy tense to learn if you practice. ¿Lo intentarás? Will you give it a go?
Alison Maciejewski Cortez is Chilean-American, born and raised in California. She studied abroad in Spain, has lived in multiple countries, and now calls Mexico home. She believes that learning how to order a beer in a new language reveals a lot about local culture. Alison speaks English, Spanish, and Thai fluently and studies Czech and Turkish. Her consulting business takes her around the world and she is excited to share language tips as part of the Lingoda team. Follow her culinary and cultural experiences on Twitter.