- Recognize and understand the simple future tense
The simple future tense is formed by attaching the future tense endings right onto the verb’s infinitive. This is unlike the other conjugations that we’ve learned so far, which remove the infinitive ending first. Note that almost all of the future tense endings are end-stressed and carry accent marks—this stress pattern is also unlike any other verb tense. There are a good number of verbs that modify their stem instead of using the full infinitive, but all verbs in the future tense use the same set of endings.
The regular future tense: -é, -ás, -á,-emos, -éis,-án
The irregular future: vowel → d
The irregular future: “e” disappears
The irregular future: “c” disappears
The future periphrastic vs. the simple future
The simple future tense is translated to English with the auxiliary or helping verb “will”, whereas in Spanish it’s just a one-word conjugation. And you should also remember that we learned another way of talking about future events, “ir” + “a” + infinitive (the “future periphrastic”), to express what is going to happen. In most circumstances the simple future and the future periphrastic are interchangeable, but the future periphrastic suggests a closer connection between the present and the events in the future, whereas the simple future tense just places the action in the future.
The future of probability
There is a very common, colloquial use of the simple future tense to express that something is probable, or to speculate about what is likely to be true—not in the future, but in the present. In English we often use words such as “could” or “might” to convey the same sense of conjecture or speculation.
- Suena el timbre de la puerta a medianoche. “¿Quién será a estas horas?” (The doorbell rings at midnight. “Who could it be at this hour?”)
- ¿Sabes la cantidad de basura que produces cada año? Bueno, el norteamericano promedio produce 1.600 libras de basura al año; mi familia producirá algo menos porque tenemos bolsas y botellas reusables, no de plástico. (“Do you know how much garbage you produce each year?” “Well, the average North American produces 1,600 pounds of garbage each year; my family probably produces something less because we have reusable bags and bottles, not plastic.”)