French Future Tense

How to use the French future tense

Man looking at watch
"Quand il arrivera, nous mangerons." (When he arrives, we will eat.). Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images

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 vous form of the imperative:

   Vous fermerez la porte, s'il vous plaît.


   Close the door, please.

To express something that is going to occur very soon, you can use the near future / futur proche.

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 > acquerr-   similar verbs: conquérir, s'enquérir

appeler > appeller-   similar verbs: épeler, rappeler, renouveler

aller > ir-

avoir > aur-

courir > courr-   similar verbs: concourir, discourir, parcourirmore

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, tutoyermore

pleuvoir > pleuvr-

pouvoir > pourr-

savoir > saur-

tenir > tiendr-   similar verbs: maintenir, obtenir, soutenirmore

valoir > vaudr-

venir > viendr-   similar verbs: devenir, parvenir, revenirmore

voir > verr-   similar verb: revoir

vouloir > voudr-

*Notes:

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

Test on the French future tense


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):
 
PronounFuture endingparler > parler-finir > finir-vendre > vendr-aller > ir-
 je -aiparleraifiniraivendraiirai
 tu -asparlerasfinirasvendrasiras
 il -aparlerafiniravendraira
 nous -onsparleronsfinironsvendronsirons
 vous -ezparlerezfinirezvendrezirez
 ils -ontparlerontfinirontvendrontiront