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How to Learn the Future Tense in Spanish – an Easy Guide


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Welcome to this guide on changing verbs to future tense in Spanish!

We’ll cover:

  • The Spanish future tense endings
  • The irregular verbs in future tenses
  • How to conjugate future tenses in Spanish

I’ll walk you through the different Spanish future tenses and help you learn with charts and simple explanations.

By the end of the article, you’ll feel confident in how to use the Spanish future tense.

Grab your pen to take notes and let’s get started!

Future Tense in Spanish: What Do We Mean By That?

So you want to learn the future tense in Spanish. But do you know which one?

When someone mentions the “future tense”, they’re usually talking about the simplest of future tenses: the future indicative. You know, the one that in English goes “I will do” and “she will have”.

But there are many more future tenses, most of all in Spanish. The subjunctive mode (used to express emotions, doubts, and the abstract) needs to have its own, for example. If only to make your life more difficult.

If this all sounds more foreign than Spanish to you, you might need a quick refresher. You’re in luck because that’s exactly what I had planned next.

Future Tense Conjugation in Spanish: The Basics

There are a few things you need to pay attention to in Spanish conjugation. Some you will know because they exist in English as well. Others might be new, but that does not mean they will be harder to learn.

Spanish Verb Groups

The first concept we have to talk about is the verb classification according to a verb’s ending.

Spanish verbs have three possible endings: -ar, -er, and -ir. The verbs ending in -ar belong to the first group, those in -er to the second group, and those in -ir to the third group.

Why is this relevant? Because it makes your life easier.

Most of the time, the verbs that have the same ending conjugate in the same way. For example, cortar (“to cut”) will conjugate like amar (“to love”). Comer (“to eat”) like beber (“to drink”). And dormir (“to sleep”) like vivir (“to live”).

This will be useful to learn for the conjugation of some future tenses.

Spanish Subject Pronouns

Spanish subject pronouns may seem like a lot at first glance, but don’t forget that they’re rarely used in speech! They’re mostly an indication for conjugation.

Quickly review them with this chart.

Spanish Pronouns English Equivalents
yo I
you (singular and informal)
vos you (singular and informal only in some Latin American countries)
él, ella, usted he, she, you (singular formal)
nosotros, nosotras* we
vosotros, vosotras you (plural informal in Spain)
ellos, ellas, ustedes they (masculine or general), they (feminine), you (plural formal)

Spanish Conjugation Moods

Another important aspect to remember when you work on Spanish conjugation is the moods.

We have them in English too. Most of the time, we use them without really paying mind to it.

The Spanish moods include el indicativo (“the indicative”), el imperativo (“the imperative”), and el subjuntivo (“the subjunctive”). Each of them has their own tenses, both simple and compound.

If you want to learn more about Spanish conjugation, you’re welcome to visit this post that I wrote on the topic.

But for now, let’s get right into conjugating future tense.

How Many Spanish Future Tenses Are There?

Before you banish the information on conjugation moods to the back of your mind, guess why I included them in this post.

That’s right: moods have their own future tenses with their own rules and meanings.

So how many Spanish future tenses are there?

The answer is four: two indicative future tenses and two subjunctive future tenses.

They are:

*el futuro simple del indicativo: simple future of the indicative mood

  • el futuro perfecto del indicativo: compound future of the indicative mood
  • *el futuro simple del subjuntivo: simple future of the subjunctive mood
  • el futuro perfecto del indicativo: compound future of the subjunctive mood

How to Form the Spanish Future Tense

Have you already studied other Spanish tenses, like the preterite for example? If you have, you know that Spanish conjugation is a bit more complex than in English.

I’ve prepared some charts to help you through it.

Simple Future Tense in Spanish: El Futuro del Indicativo

El futuro del indicativo, also called futuro imperfecto (“imperfect future”) and futuro simple (“simple future”), is the simplest future tense in Spanish. It’s part of the standard trio of tenses that Spanish learners study first.

It’s also often their favourite because of how simple its conjugation is, as I’ll show you below.

Before jumping to the conjugation, though, let’s talk about the many uses of the simple future tense in Spanish.

Its most important function is to place an action in the future, such as me iré mañana (“I will leave tomorrow”).

But sometimes it communicates a supposition, like in serán las dos (“it must be two o’clock” or “it’s probably two o’clock”). And sometimes it’s used as a form of imperative: irás a la fiesta, sí o sí (“you will go to the party”).

Spanish Future Tense: Endings

Forming el futuro del indicativo is different than forming other simple Spanish tenses. Mostly because you keep the whole infinitive of the verb instead of only its root.

Add these endings to the infinitive:

yo
-ás
vos -ás
él, ella, usted
nosotros, nosotras -emos
vosotros, vosotras -éis
ellos, ellas, ustedes -án

The same endings work with verbs from all three groups, as you can see in this chart:

Amar (“to love”) Comer (“to eat”) Vivir (“to live”)
yo amaré comeré viviré
amarás comerás vivirás
vos amarás comerás vivirás
él, ella, usted amará comerá vivirá
nosotros, nosotras amaremos comeremos viviremos
vosotros, vosotras amaréis comeréis viviréis
ellos, ellas, ustedes amarán comerán vivirán

Identify the Irregular Future Tenses in Spanish

There are a few exceptions to the simplicity of the simple future — see what I did here. Some Spanish verbs have an irregular future tense.

But don’t worry! There are only a few of them, and the slight changes only happen in their infinitive.

You can see them in the following charts:

Caber (“to fit”) Haber (“to have”) Hacer (“to do”) Decir (“to say”)
yo cabré habré haré diré
cabrás habrás harás dirás
vos cabrás habrás harás dirás
él, ella, usted cabrá habrá hará dirá
nosotros, nosotras cabremos habremos haremos diremos
vosotros, vosotras cabréis habréis haréis diréis
ellos, ellas, ustedes cabrán habrán harán dirán
Poder (“to can”) Poner (“to put”) Querer (“to like”/”to want”) Saber (“to know”)
yo podré pondré querré sabré
podrás pondrás querrás sabrás
vos podrás pondrás querrás sabrás
él, ella, usted podrá pondrá querrá sabrá
nosotros, nosotras podremos pondremos querremos sabremos
vosotros, vosotras podréis pondréis querréis sabréis
ellos, ellas, ustedes podrán pondrán querrán sabrán
Salir (“to go out”/”to exit”) Tener (“to have”) Valer (“to be worth”) Venir (“to come”)
yo saldré tendré valdré vendré
saldrás tendrás valdrás vendrás
vos saldrás tendrás valdrás vendrás
él, ella, usted saldrá tendrá valdrá vendrá
nosotros, nosotras saldremos tendremos valdremos vendremos
vosotros, vosotras saldréis tendréis valdréis vendréis
ellos, ellas, ustedes saldrán tendrán valdrán vendrán

Future Perfect Tense in Spanish: El Futuro Perfecto del Indicativo

El futuro perfecto del indicativo, commonly known as just el futuro perfecto, is used to talk about an action that will be done by the future moment you’re referring to.

Take as an example en tres años a partir de ahora, habré terminado mis estudios (“in three years from now, I will have finished my studies”).

El futuro perfecto is even easier to build than el futuro imperfecto.

El futuro perfecto is a compound tense, meaning that it is composed of two verbs. The first of the two is the verb haber (“to have”) conjugated in future tense. The second is a participio (“participle”).

The rule to form the participle of a verb in Spanish follows this pattern:

verb root + -ado for verbs that end in -ar, or -ido for verbs that end in -er and -ir

Here is a chart with examples of the futuro perfecto:

Amar (“to love”) Comer (“to eat”) Vivir (“to live”)
yo habré amado habré comido habré vivido
habrás amado habrás comido habrás vivido
vos habrás amado habrás comido habrás vivido
él, ella, usted habrá amado habrá comido habrá vivido
nosotros, nosotras habremos amado habremos comido habremos vivido
vosotros, vosotras habréis amado habréis comido habréis vivido
ellos, ellas, ustedes habrán amado habrán comido habrán vivido

Note: There are some exceptions to the participle rule. But there aren’t many and you won’t get in trouble with this tense if you learn them. Here are a few of the most commonly used:

  • abrir (“to open”) → abierto
  • decir (“to say”) → dicho
  • escribir (“to write”) → *escrito
  • hacer (“to do”) → hecho
  • poner (“to put”) → puesto
  • ver (“to see”) → visto
  • volver (“to come back”) → vuelto

Keep in mind that when the last letter of a verb’s root is a vowel and the ending you will add is -ido, the i has to be accented.

Examples:

  • traer (“to bring”) → traído
  • oir (“to hear”) → oído

The Future Tenses of Your Favourite Spanish Mood: Los Futuros del Subjuntivo

I’ll tell you right now, these tenses are not used in everyday Spanish. But you will come across them in popular sayings, literature, or academic texts.

So while you’re here, why not get familiar with them?

(Pssst… If you need a quick refresher on what’s the subjunctive and how it works, jump to this post.)

El Futuro Imperfecto del Subjuntivo

As you may remember, the subjunctive mood is used to point out actions that could happen. With the subjunctive present tense, there is an implicit belief that an action might happen. But with the subjunctive future, the action could be true if the conditions were right.

An example: By saying El que me ame me siga, you’re saying “Those who love me follow me”. But if you were to say El que me amare me siguiere, you would be saying “If there was someone who loved me, may they follow me”.

It’s a bit complex, but I find it fascinating.

The simple future of the subjunctive mood isn’t as simple as the indicative one. But it’s still fairly easy to master.

El futuro imperfecto del subjuntivo is built from the verb’s root. You then have to add a specific ending depending on what group the verb belongs to.

Here’s how the endings work:

Verbs of 1st group (-ar) Verbs of 2nd and 3rd group (-er, -ir)
yo -are -iere
-ares -ieres
vos -ares -ieres
él, ella, usted -are -iere
nosotros, nosotras -áremos -iéremos
vosotros, vosotras -areis -iereis
ellos, ellas, ustedes -aren -ieren

Examples:

  • yo amare
  • tú comieres
  • ella viviere

There are exceptions, but as this tense has become obsolete, you don’t really have to learn them.

El Futuro Perfecto del Subjuntivo

Actually, there’s one exception that might be worth learning. And that’s only because it’s useful to build this tense.

I’m just giving you el futuro perfecto del subjuntivo so you know it exists and you don’t get too surprised when you see it on a conjugation site.

Like its indicative version, this tense is a compound one. You form it with the subjunctive future of haber and a participle.

Haber
yo hubiere
hubieres
vos hubieres
él, ella, usted hubiere
nosotros, nosotras hubiéremos
vosotros, vosotras hubiereis
ellos, ellas, ustedes hubieren

Examples:

  • yo hubiere amado
  • tú hubieres comido
  • ella hubiere vivido

Future Tenses in Spanish: Practice!

The best way to become a pro at using the future tense of verbs in Spanish is to practice. Create your own future tense Spanish sentences to make sure you use as many verbs as possible.

Learning conjugation is about trying and trying until the suffixes stick into your head.

If you’ve got someone you can practice out loud with, that’s even better! If you don’t have a conversation partner yet, check out iTalki or consider joining the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge. We’re a supportive community who motivate each other to reach our goals in our target language.

I’ll See You in the Future!

It’s time to say goodbye, but it doesn’t have to be a long one. You can check out more easy guides to tricky Spanish topics.

Why not look at this list of the best resources for Spanish learning? I’m sure you’ll find something to help you practice!

author headshot

Benny Lewis

Founder, Fluent in 3 Months

Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is to speak from day one.

Speaks: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Dutch, Irish

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