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Spanish Grammar: Regular Future Tense

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Instructor: Chris Travis

Chris has a Ph.D in Hispanic Literature.

In Spanish grammar, the regular future tense expresses an action that hasn't yet happened or will happen at a future time. Learn when to use the regular future tense, explore how to form and conjugate it, and then practice your new skills. Updated: 10/07/2021

When to Use the Future Tense in Spanish

Pablo Ortiz estará muy ocupado este verano y está revisando su calendario. En mayo, tomará un examen importante en la clase de biología. En junio, Pablo celebrará el cumpleaños de su amiga Cristina. En julio, viajará a México para las vacaciones, y en agosto, tocará su guitarra en un concierto muy importante.

Tomará, celebrará, viajará, tocará: these verbs are conjugated in the future tense - en el futuro. While there are other ways to express future plans, the future tense is the most useful and should be studied carefully. The future tense is used to tell what will happen or what shall happen, just as in English: Pablo will have, will celebrate, will travel, will play music.

However, we cannot think of it as a direct translation of the English word 'will.' It is not used, for example, to express a willingness to do something. When asking for a favor, we can just use the verb querer in the present tense.

Pablo asks his wife, Elena: ¿Quieres hacerme un favor? ¿Quieres traerme el libro, por favor? Here we see the present tense: Will you (would you like to) do me a favor? Will you (do you want to) bring me the book, please?

The future tense is also not preferred when referring to the immediate future, so when Elena announces her plans for tonight, she can use the present tense: Esta noche voy al teatro con Julia y no regresamos hasta las 11:30 - Tonight I am going to the theater with Julia and we will not return until 11:30.

Finally, a unique use of the future tense in Spanish is to express conjecture or probability. Someone's knocking at the door. Who might it be? Could it be Larry? - Alguien toca la puerta. ¿Quién será? ¿Será Larry?

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Coming up next: Spanish Grammar: Irregular Future Tense

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