Since French doesn’t have helping verbs like English does, talking about the future means you have to use an entirely new verb conjugation, cleverly called le futur simple, or simple French future tense. Notice the difference in talking about the future in English versus in French.
An Overview of the French Future Tense
Learning the French future tense isn’t very hard, especially since the future tense doesn’t have irregular verb endings. It does have a couple dozen irregular root forms (see below), but every verb in the future tense follows the same ending pattern, depending on whether it’s singular or plural, and first, second or third person (just like all other French verb conjugations).
|Future Tense Verb Endings Conjugation|
|je _______ai||nous _______ons|
|tu _______as||vous _______ez|
|il _______a||ils _______ont|
Do the future tense verb endings in the “boot” look familiar? They’re the same as the present tense conjugation of avoir!
The French future “root” form of the verbs is also the same root forms used in the conditional tense, just with different endings. So you’ll only have to memorize one root form for each irregular verb, and then just adjust the ending according to whether it’s the future or conditional tense.
Regular Future Tense Verbs
The “normal” way to conjugate a verb into the future tense is just to add the endings straight onto the infinitive form of the verb. For example:
parler → je parle (present) → je parlerai (future)
dormir → il dors (present) → il dormira (future)
For verbs that end in –re in the infinitive form, drop the final e.
rendre → je rends (present) → je rendrai (future)
perdre → il perd (present) → il perdra (future)
Irregular Future Tense Verbs
There are about a dozen common irregular verb root forms, and a few others that are “partially” irregular (usually this means they change in the “boot”, and have regular conjugations in the nous and vous forms).
|Irregular verb||Future tense root form|
|venir||viendr- (same format for devenir and revenir)|
Spelling changes in future tense
There are a few other verbs that change spelling slightly to accommodate the future (and conditional tense) conjugations while keeping the pronunciation intact.
1) Doubling the final consonant
- Appeler → appeller + future ending and rappeler → rappeller + future ending
- Jeter → jetter + future ending and projeter → projetter + future ending
2) Certain verbs that end in -yer
Replace the y with an i instead.
- Essayer, envoyer, ennuyer, nettoyer, payer
- For example, nettoyer → “je nettoierai”
3) Changing the e to an accent grave è
For verb spellings that would make the second to last e not pronounced, the e gets an accent grave è to make it a substantial sound.
- Amener, promener, lever, acheter, emmener
- For example, promener → “je promènerai”