Soyini has taught French at the high school and university levels, and is a PhD student in Geography.
2050: A French Odyssey
What will life be like tomorrow? Will I still be able to get my favorite, brewed-from-scratch mocha latte, or will Starbucks just be a bank of replicators à la Star Trek? How would such a discussion sound in French? Well aside from the word 'Starbucks' possibly sounding more like 'Starbewks,' you'll find the French have a slightly simpler way of talking about the future than in English. As if to drive home the point, the French tense that is used to talk about future actions and events is even called the futur simple (the simple future). Well, it's mostly simple. There are a few irregularities.
It's simpler than English, though, because English uses 'will + verb' (as in: I will only buy my coffee from a real person, not a robot) to speak of future actions. In French, there is no 'will,' just the verb, which changes to a particular form so that you can know that it is referring to the future.
Like all other tenses in French, the verb has a stem and an ending. For the most part, the stem in the future simple is simply the infinitive (the unconjugated form of the verb, which is what you find when you look it up in the dictionary). So a statement about the future might sound something like this:
J'achèterai du café fraichement moulu. (I will buy freshly ground coffee).
So, here, the formula for the futur simple is: stem (infinitive) + ending. For a quick summary of the endings that go with each person, take a look at this image:
Those are the regular verbs. Of course, there are irregular verbs, for which the stem is something other than the infinitive.
Irregular future simple stems
The major verbs that are irregular in the simple future are the same ones that are irregular in most other tenses. The usual suspects are: avoir, être, aller and faire. Instead of using the infinitive as the stem, you'll have to use the following stems:
| I will have
you will have
he/she/it will have
we will have
you will have
they will have
| I will be
you will be
he/she/it will be
we will be
you will be
they will be
|I will go
you will go
|I will do
you will do
So that picture of the flower that we drew earlier to help you remember the formation of the future tense would look slightly different for a verb like avoir. Where we had the infinitive in the original diagram, we would replace it with the special future tense stem for avoir. So we get:
The other irregular future tense stems are easier to remember if you study them in groups of similar verbs. Of course, Study.com is going to make that easy for you, so we've done the grouping below.
Verbs like venir (ending in -enir)
Verbs like venir (to come) have future tense stems that contain the letters -iendr-, as you will see below:
|I will come
you will come
|I will hold
you will hold
|I will obtain
you will obtain
Verbs ending in -oir with a single 'r' in the stem
-OIR verbs are weird in just about any tense. But at least they are slightly consistent among themselves - though only just. The following verbs have stems formed by dropping the -oir and adding an 'r' (with occasional modifications to one or two other letters):
|vouloir||voudr-||(voodr)||je voudrai, etc.||I will want, etc.|
|devoir||devr-||(duhvr)||je devrai, etc.||I will have to, etc.|
|savoir||saur-||(soar)||je saurai, etc.||I will know, etc.|
|recevoir||recevr-||(ruh-suhvr)||je recevrai, etc.||I will receive, etc.|
|pleuvoir||pleuvr-||(pluhvr)||il pleuvra||It will rain|
|falloir||faudr-||(fohdr)||il faudra||It will be necessary|
Note that the last two verbs are only used with the pronoun il. After all, you can't say 'I will rain.' No matter what technology changes they have in the future, we're not going to start falling from the sky in droplets.
Verbs ending in -oir with a double 'r' in the stem
This second category of verbs is similar to the ones we just discussed, but instead of one 'r' in the stem, there are two:
|voir||verr-||(vair)||je verrai, etc.||I will see, etc.|
|pouvoir||pourr-||(poohr)||je pourrai, etc.||I will be able to, etc.|
Let's stick one more verb in this category, even though it doesn't actually end in -oir. Envoyer (to send) behaves a lot like the verb voir in the future tense. Its stem is enverr-, so you would say j'enverrai for 'I will send.'
Verbs ending in -rir
These verbs are similar to the ones before, in that they also have a double 'r' in their future tense stems:
|courir||courr-||(coohr)||je courrai, etc.||I will run, etc.|
|mourir||mourr-||(moohr)||je mourrai, etc.||I will die, etc.|
Now don't go running around making morbid predictions just to practice those last two verbs!
So what can we say? The future looks bright on the conjugation front because this is really a short list of irregular verbs to learn. But should we be so optimistic about the year 2050? We might ask:
Les gens auront plus d'argent ? (Will people have more money?)
Tout le monde pourra aller à la lune ? (Will everyone be able to go the moon?)
Nous devrons tous porter des puces d'identification ? (Will we all have to wear identity chips?)
As for me, I will say this:
Moi, j'irai toujours à Starbucks. (I will always go to Starbucks).
The irregular stems in the futur simple are:
The endings are all the same as for the regular futur simple: -ai, -as, -a, -ons, -ez, -ont.
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