Cinq Nord | A French Language Sandbox


Le Futur

"I will..."

In English, the future tense carries the auxiliary verb "will" to create a compound verb, e.g. "I will eat when everyone is here."

Le futur is not a compound verb in French, but instead a conjugation of the infinitive. More specifically, a group of suffixes are appended to the infinitive:

Le futur is created by combining the infinitive with the conjugated present tense of avoir. The pattern does not vary for any verb.

These have only three distinct sounds in spoken French: "rai," "ra," and "ron."

Thus, parler in le futur becomes:

Je parlerai.— I will speak.
Tu parlera.— You will speak.
Il parlera.— He will speak.
Nous parlerons.— We will speak
Vous parlerez.— You will speak
Ils parleront.— They will speak.

While the “r” is silent at the end of the infinitive forms of -er verbs, in the future tense it is clearly included — an emphatic phonetic signal of a future event.

Literally, le futur translates as “I to ______ have,” which crosses over to English as “I have to ______” — i.e. "I have to work." However, in English this is something like a conditional future tense, describing something that one is required to do in the future, but not necessarily a declaration that it will happen — "I will work." Thus, while it's helpful to remember appending the conjugations of avoir, to infinitives, the translation is not literal.

Cinq Nord | A French Language Sandbox