Future Tense


The French future tense talks about upcoming events. While the French future tense has a full set of conjugations, the English equivalent is just the modal verb “will” + main verb.

J’irai au magasin demain                                  I will go to the store tomorrow.
Ils mangeront dans l’avion                               They will eat on the plane.

The French future tense can also be used in si clauses, to express what will happen if a condition is met:

Si j’ai le temps, je le ferai                                  If I have time, I will do it.
Je le ferai si j’ai le temps                                   I will do it if I have time.

There are some differences between the French and English future tenses.

1. When the action of the verb after certain constructions* will take place in the future, the future tense is used in French, whereas in English the present tense is used.

*après que (after),aussitôt que (as soon as), dès que (as soon as),espérer que (to hope that), lorsque (when), quand(when), une fois que (once):

Quand il arrivera, nous mangerons.              When he arrives, we will eat.
Je vous téléphonerai dès que je pourrai.       I’ll call you as soon as I can.

2. In journalism and other factual narration, the future is often used in French even though the events are in the past.

Né en Martinique, Aimé Césaire étudiera à Paris et redécouvrira l’Afrique
Born in Martinique, Aimé Césaire studied in Paris and rediscovered Africa.

3. In French, the future can also be used for polite orders and requests, in place of the vousform of the imperative:

Vous fermerez la porte, s’il vous plaît.            Close the door, please.

The future is, in my opinion, one of the simplest French tenses. There is only one set of endings for all verbs, and most of them – even many which are irregular in the present tense – use their infinitive as the root. There are only about two dozen stem-changing or irregular verbs which have irregular future stems but take the same endings:

acheter > achèter- similar verbs: achever, amener, emmener, lever, promener*
acquérir > acquerir- similar verbs: conquérir, s’enquérir
appeler > appeller- similar verbs: épeler, rappeler, renouveler
aller > ir-
avoir > aur-
courir > courr-  similar verbs: concourir, discourir, parcourir
devoir > devr-
envoyer > enverr-
essayer > essaier-  similar verbs: balayer, effrayer, payer
essuyer > essuier-  similar verbs: appuyer, ennuyer
être > ser-
faire > fer-
falloir > faudr-
jeter > jetter-  similar verbs: feuilleter, hoqueter, projeter, rejeter
nettoyer > nettoier-  similar verbs: employer, noyer, tutoyer
pleuvoir > pleuvr-
pouvoir > pourr-
savoir > saur-
tenir > tiendr-  similar verbs: maintenir, obtenir, soutenir
valoir > vaudr-
venir > viendr-  similar verbs: devenir, parvenir, revenir
voir > verr-  similar verb: revoir
vouloir > voudr-


1. The future stem always ends in R.
2. The exact same verbs are irregular in the conditional and use the same stems.

French future conjugations

To conjugate an -ER or -IR verb in the future tense, add the appropriate endings to the infinitive. For -RE verbs, remove the final -e and then add the future endings. For irregular verbs, add the endings to the irregular future stem. For example, here are the future conjugations for the regular verbs parler (to speak), finir (to finish), and vendre (to sell) and the irregular verb aller (to go):
Pronoun Future ending parler >  parler- finir >  finir- vendre >  vendr- aller > ir-
 je  -ai parlerai finirai vendrai irai
 tu  -as parleras finiras vendras iras
 il  -a parlera finira vendra ira
 nous  -ons parlerons finirons vendrons irons
 vous  -ez parlerez finirez vendrez irez
 ils  -ont parleront finiront vendront iront

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