Future Tense

Le futur

In English, we use the modal "will" plus a verb to talk about actions that will take place in the future, but in French there’s a future tense with a full set of conjugations for every verb. The uses of these two constructions are very similar.

Par exemple…

Je ferai la vaisselle ce soir.   I’ll do the dishes tonight.
Vous aurez ma réponse demain.   You will have my answer tomorrow.

  The French future tense is often found in si clauses when talking about will happen if a certain condition is met.

Par exemple…

Je t’appellerai si j’ai des nouvelles / Si j’ai des nouvelles, je t’appellerai.   I’ll call you if I have any news / If I have any news, I’ll call you.
Tu réussiras à l’examen si tu étudies / Si tu étudies, tu réussiras à l’examen.   You’ll pass the test if you study / If you study, you’ll pass the test.

However, there are a few situations in which the French future tense is not equivalent to "will":

  Futuristic conjunctions

Conjunctions and conjunctive phrases that introduce future states of being require the future tense in French, rather than the present tense found in English. Here is the complete list:

  • après que (after)
  • aussitôt que (as soon as)
  • dès que (as soon as)
  • lorsque (when)
  • quand (when)
  • une fois que (once)

Par exemple…

Dès que vous serez au lit, je vous raconterai une histoire.   As soon as you’re in bed, I’ll tell you a bedtime story.
Appelle-moi quand tu te sentiras mieux.   Call me when you feel better.

 Note that the future is only used here with state-of-being verbs. For action verbs, you need the future perfect.

Journalistic style

French journalists and historians often use the future to describe events from the past – learn more.

Par exemple…

Philosophe et feministe, Simone de Beauvoir deviendra l’un des auteurs les plus lus dans le monde.   Philosopher and feminist, Simone de Beauvoir became one of the most widely read authors in the world.

Polite orders and requests

To soften a request, use the future instead of the imperative:

Par exemple…

Vous reviendrez demain, s’il vous plaît.   Please come back tomorrow.

 Related lessons

French lesson plans French lesson plans

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French future tense


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