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Futur proche, futur simple : the future tenses in French

In the French language, there are 2 future tenses: the “futur proche” and the “futur simple”.

Paradoxically, the futur proche is simpler (easier to build) than the futur simple, that’s why we use it more.

THE ” FUTUR PROCHE “

It is supposed to be used for something close in time: tomorrow, next week etc. but if you listen to French people speaking, you will notice that they use it also to express actions further in time.

Je vais visiter le musée demain
(I am going to visit the museum tomrrow.)

Je vais prendre ma retraite dans trois ans.
(I am going to retire in 3 years.)

How do we build this future? It is quite easy :

We conjugate the verb ALLER in the present + we add the INFINITIVE of the verb after.

Je vais PARTIR.
Tu vas RESTER.
Il va SE PROMENER.
Elle va SE COUCHER.
On va REGARDER la télé.
Nous allons REGARDER la télé.
Vous aller ECOUTER la radio.
Ils vont PRENDRE un rendez-vous.
Elles vont ALLER danser.

Quite easy isn’t it? Now let’s compare with the ” futur simple”

THE ” FUTUR SIMPLE “

In grammar, “simple” doesn’t mean “easy”, it means that there is only one part (one word) in the verb.
We’ve seen that there are 2 parts in the futur proche (the verb aller + the infinitive of the verb), for the futur simple you have only 1 part, but it’s more difficult to conjugate.

What you do is that you take the infinitive of the verb you want to conjugate, for example, PARTIR, and you add the endings of the futur.
Let’s have a look at it closer. (I’ll write the infinitive in capital letters, but it’s just a way to make you understand quicker.)

Je PARTIRai
Tu PARTIRas
Il PARTIRa
Elle PARTIRa
On PARTIRa
Nous PARTIRons
Vous PARTIRez
Ils PARTIRont
Elles PARTIRont

So, you will say that it’s not very complicated. That’s right, but there are some subtleties I need to explain to you.

First, when you have an infinitive ending with -e- you need to take off this -e-. For example, there is an -e- at the end of the verb VENDRE (to sell), so you conjugate it that way :

Je VENDRai
Tu VENDRas
Il VENDRa
Nous VENDRons
Vous VENDRez
Ils VENDRont

Then you have irregular verbs you need to learn :

ENVOYER (to send) j’enverrai
VOIR (to see) je verrai
COURIR (to run) je courrai
POUVOIR (can) je pourrai
MOURIR (to die) je mourrai
 
VENIR (to come) je viendrai
TENIR (to hold) je tiendrai
VALOIR (to be worth) il vaudra
FALLOIR (must) il faudra
VOULOIR (to want) je voudrai
 
DEVOIR (must) je devrai
RECEVOIR (to receive) je recevrai
PLEUVOIR (to rain) il pleuvra
 
AVOIR (to have) j’aurai
ÊTRE (to be) je serai
SAVOIR (to know) je saurai
FAIRE (to do) je ferai
ALLER (to go) j’irai
 
APPELER (to call) J’appellerai (double l)
JETER (to throw) Je jèterai (accent)
ESSUYER (to wipe) J’essuierai (no y)

I gave you the first person (sometimes third when first is never used) as an example, you keep the same root for the other persons.

Here are some examples with the futur simple :

Quand il aura 60 ans, il prendra sa retraite.
(When he is 60, he will retire.)
Quand je serai en vacances, je te rendrai visite.
(When I am on holiday, I will visit you)

You’ve noticed that we use the future after “quand”, contrary to the English.

Some other examples :
En 2100, il y aura des voitures volantes.
(In 2100, there will be flying cars.)
Dans cinq ans,nous irons en Espagne.
(In five years, we will go to Spain.)

Voilà! I hope you understand these 2 futures now.
If you still have questions, ask them in the comments below.

You can also watch my video about the futur proche by clicking here

A bientôt!

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