How To Form The French Future Tenses: Futur Proche & Simple

The French future tense has two forms: the futur proche (je vais parler; I’m going to speak) and the futur simple (je parlerai; I will speak). This page will cover the futur simple endings, subtle differences between the futur simple and futur proche and look at the futur antérieur (past future tense).

French future tense: Complete Guide

Futur proche: the near future tense

The futur proche is formed by following a conjugated form of aller + infinitive. For example, “je vais manger” means I’m going to eat. “Je vais” is the conjugated form of aller in the first-person singular form and manger is the infinitive of to eat.

How to form the futur proche

Je vais parler -> I'm going to speakNous allons parler -> We're going to speak
Tu vas parler -> You're going to speakVous allez parler -> You're doing to speak
Il, elle on va parler -> He, she one's going to speakIls, elles vont parler -> They're going to speak

Uses and examples of the futur proche

The futur proche often suggests a high level of certainty, meaning it is very likely that the event will happen in the future.

The name of the tense is literally the “near” future tense, the described event can occur both in the immediate (next few minutes) or more distant (next few years) future.

The main point is that there is that the level of certainty is higher than the futur simple, which we will see below.

Examples:

  • Je vais acheter les billets. I am going to buy the tickets (it is certain; I have a reservation).
  • Nous allons dîner au restaurant. We are going to eat out (again it is certain, we have a reservation).
  • Ils vont achter la maison. They are going to buy the house (Again, it is certain – they got approved for the loan).

Negation

To negate the future proche, wrap ne…pas around the conjugated form or aller. For example:

  • Je ne vais pas manger. I’m not going to eat.
  • Il ne va pas travailler. He’s not going to dance.
Futur proche example

Futur simple: future tense

The futur simple is also referred to as the French future tense. To form the the futur simple, specific endings are added to the end of the infinitive. “Je parlerai” means I will speak.

The futur simple endings are: -ai, -as, -a, -ons, -ez and -ont. The endings are actually avoir (to have) in the present tense (j’ai, tu as, il a, etc.).

Futur simple endings for regular verbs

The following table shows the futur simple endings for regular verbs. Verb endings are bolded. For regular -re verbs, remove the -e from the infinitive and put the futur simple ending. For example, je vendrai (I will sell).

PARLER TO SPEAK
je parlerai
tu parleras
il parlera
nous parlerons
vous parlerez
ils parleront
FINIR TO FINISH
je finirai
tu finiras
il finira
nous finirons
vous finirez
ils finiront
VENDRE TO SELL
je vendrai
tu vendras
il vendra
nous vendrons
vous vendrez
ils vendront

Irregular verb stems

Many French verbs have an irregular stem in the futur simple. This means that rather than just adding the ending ot the infinitive (je parlerai), the infinitive appears in a completely different spelling.

For example, for the verb être (to be), the futur simple is je serai (I will be). Beginners are suggested to memorize this list.

InfinitiveEnglishIrregular StemEnglish
allerto goj'iraiI'll go
apercevoirto noticej'apercevraiI'll notice
avoirto havej'auraiI'll have
courirto runje courraiI'll run
devenirto becomeje deviendraiI'll become
devormust, have toje devraiI'll have to
envoyerto sendj'enverraiI'll send
êtreto becomeje seraiI'll become
faireto make, doje feraiI'll make, do
falloirto be necessaryil faudraIt will be necessary
mourirto dieje mourraiI'll die
pleuvoirto rainil pleuvraIt will rain
pouvoircan, to be able toje pourraiI'll be able to
recevoirto receiveje recevraiI'll receive
revenirto come back, returnje reviendraiI'll be back
savoirto knowje sauraiI'll know
tenirto holdje tiendraiI'll hold
valoirto be worthil vaudraIt will be worth
venirto comeje viendraiI'll come
voirto seeje verraiI'll see
vouloirto wantje vouraiI'll want
ER verbs with stem/spelling changes
acheterto buyj'achêteraiI'll buy
appelerto callj'appelleraiI'll call
employerto hirej'emploieraiI'll hire
essuyerto wipej'essuieraiI'll wipe
jeterto throwje jetteraiI'll throw
nettoyerto cleanje nettoieraiI'll clean
préférerto preferje préféreraiI'll prefer
s'asseoirto sitje m'assiérai or je m'assoiraiI'll sit

Futur simple uses

The following example sentences all use the futur simple. You will see that they all include an element of uncertainty.

  • Si j’ai l’argent, j’achèterai la voiture. I’ll buy the car if I have the money.
  • J’espère qu’elle viendra demain. I hope she’ll come tomorrow.
  • Je pense qu’il pleuvra demain. I think it’ll rain tomorrow.
  • Je crois que les enfants seront très heureux. I believe the kids will be very happy.

Future-future rule

There is a grammatical in French which I called the “future-future” rule. In English, you say “I will call you when I arrive”.

In French, the futur simple is used for both verbs in this kind of sentence. Hence it would look like: “I WILL call you when I WILL arrive” or “Je vous téléphonerai quand j’ariverai”.

The following sentences are examples of the future-future rule. The trigger words for this rule are underlined.

  • Je t’appellerai dès que j’aurai les nouvelles. I’ll call you once I get the news.
  • Je partirai en vacances quand il fera beau. I’ll go on vacation when it’s nice out.
  • Il se couchera dès qu‘il finira son travail. He’ll go to bed once he finishes his work.
  • J’achèterai une maison quand j’aurai assez d’argent. I’ll buy a house when I have enough money.

Si clause sentence with futur simple

The futur simple can be used in sentences like, “If I have the money, I will buy the car”. “Si j’ai l’argent, j’achetèrai la voiture”. The rule is: Si + present tense, then + futur simple. Here are some examples:

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  • Si j’ai le temps, je partirai en vacances. I’ll go on vacation if I have the time.
  • Si j’ai les moyens, j’acheterai le bateau. I’ll buy the boat if I can afford it.
Futur simple example

Futur antérieur (past future tense)

The future perfect tense is used to describe actions that will have happened in the future. For example, J’aurai mangé (I will have eaten).

  • For verbs which use avoir (to have) as an auxiliary verb in the passé composé, the futur anérieur is formed with avoir conjugated in the future and the past participle.
  • For verbs which use être as an auxiliary verb in the passé composé, conjugate être in the future and add the past particle.

Futur antérieur conjugation

The following table summarizes the conjugations for the French past future tense and includes a reflexive verb.

PARLER TO SPEAK -> WILL HAVE SPOKEN
j'aurai parlé
tu auras parlé
il aura parlé
nous aurons parlé
vous aurez parlé
ils auront parlé
ALLER TO GO -> WOULD HAVE GONE
je serai allé(e)
tu seras allé(e)
il/elle sera allé(e)
nous serons allé(e)s
vous serez allé(e)(s)
ils/elles seront allé(e)s
SE LEVER -> WILL HAVE GOTTEN UP
je me serai levé(e)
tu te seras levé(e)
il/elle se sera levé(e)
nous nous serons levé(e)s
vous vous serez levé(e)(s)
ils/elles se seront levé(e)s

Example sentences with the futur antérieur

The future perfect can be used in strait “will have happened” sentences as well as form anteriority – Action A will have happened before action B.

Straight ‘will have’ sentences

This following are examples of straight “will have” sentences.

  • J’aurai appris tous ces verbes avant la fin de l’année. I will have learned all these verbs before the end of the year.
  • Tu aura déjà trouvé un nouveau boulot avant juillet. You will have already found a new job before July.
  • Nous aurions acheté une nouvelle maison avant 2022. We will have bought a new house before 2022.

Anteriority examples

The following example sentences introduce the idea of “anteriority”: When action A occurs, action B will have already occurred.

  • Quand tu arriveras à la maison, j’aurai déjà fini mon repas. When you get home, I’ll already have finished my meal.
  • Quand elle partira, je serai déjà parti. When she leaves, I’ll ready have left.
  • Dès que tu accepteras ma décision, nous en parlerons. Once you accept my decision, we’ll talk about it.

Probability

The following example sentences express probability: Action A should have happened.

  • Il aura encore oublé le rendez-vous! He must have forgotten the meeting again!
  • Elle aura encore brûlé le gateau! She must have burnt the cake again!
  • Ils auront encore raté l’examen! They must have failed the exam again!

Whether

The following example sentences cover the concept of “whether” – “I wonder if + completed action”.

  • Je me demande si elle sera venue. I wonder if she came.
  • Je voudrais savoir s’ils auront fini les devoirs. I’d like to know if they finished the homework.
  • Je me demand s’il se sera rendu compte de sa faute. I wonder if he realized his mistake.
Futur antérieur example

Summary

There are two ways to express the future in French: The futur proche and the future simple. The futur proche has a high degree of certainty is formed with aller + infinitive (Je vais parler; I am going to speak).

The futur simple describes slightly less certain events and is formed by adding endings to the infinitive (Je parlera; I will speak).

The futur antérieur describes events which which will have occurred in the future (J’aurai mangé; I will have eaten).

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