French Near Future Tense: 'Futur Proche'

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The French near future—futur proche—is a verb construction that is used to express something that is going to happen soon, an upcoming event that will occur in the near future. Note that in French, this verb tense is called futur proche; to avoid misspelling this term, notice that the French spelling of futur does not have an e on the end, unlike "future" in English. 

The Concept of Time

The near future in French, as in English, illustrates the fluidity of time. There is the straightforward future—"I will eat," or Je mangerai—and there is the near future—"I am going to eat," or Je vais manger—which assumes a time a little earlier than the future. Likewise, in constructions involving the present, there is the straightforward present—"I eat," or Je mange—and the continuous present, which assumes a continuous process completed in the present—"I am eating," or Je suis en train de manger, meaning "I'm in the process of eating."

The fact that the continuous present action begins in the present prevents any point on the timeline of that continuous action from being considered the near future or future. 

Forming "Futur Proche"

The futur proche, or near future, is formed by combining the present of aller, which means "to go," with the infinitive of the action verb, a single word that is the basic, unconjugated form of the verb. This makes the futur proche one of the easiest tenses to construct in the French language, and, as such, fairly foolproof. That said, it does require the user to correctly spell the present tense of aller.

The Present Tense of "Aller"

Before forming future proche, familiarize yourself with the spellings of the present tense conjugations of aller.

  • Je vais > I go
  • Tu vas > You go
  • Il va > He goes
  • Nous allons > We go
  • Vous allez > You (plural) go
  • Ils vont > They go

Note that one common mistake French language beginners make is incorrectly saying je va instead of je vais. 

Combine the Present Tense of "Aller"' With an Infinitive

To indicate that you will do something, that someone else will do something, or that something will occur in the near future, combine the present tense of aller with an infinitive. Note that you are not using the infinitive of aller, which is simply "aller." Instead, use the correct present-tense use of aller, which is determined by the pronouns that follow it: je (I), tu (you), il (he), nous (we), vous (you plural), and ils (they), as demonstrated in the examples.

  • Je vais voir Luc. > I'm going to see Luc.
  • Il va arriver. > He's going to arrive.
  • Nous allons manger. > We're going to eat.
  • Je vais étudier. > I am going to study.
  • Vas-tu nous aider? > Are you going to help us?
  • Nous allons partir dans cinq minutes. > We're going to leave in five minutes.

Additional Resources

As you brush up on future proche, take a few minutes to review the rules for French future tenseinfinitivesverb timelines, and present tense.