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3.3: Grammaire - présentation

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    Le futur simple : usage

    French has two future tenses -- the futur proche and the futur simple. The futur proche is formed with the auxiliary aller which is followed by an infinitive (Je vais partir. 'I'm going to leave'). The futur simple doesn't have an auxiliary. Instead, the infinitive form becomes the stem to which future endings are added (Je partirai. 'I will leave').

    The two tenses are virtually interachangeable in most contexts, especially in spoken French. So what is the difference? In general, the two tenses differ in their level of formality; the future proche is used in more informal contexts and the simple future in more formal contexts. Thus, the futur proche is primarily used in speech and less frequently in writing. According to traditional grammars, the two tenses also differ in their relative distance to the present moment. The future proche, also called the futur immédiat, typically refers to a time very close to the present moment, i.e, the near or immediate future. The futur simple, on the other hand, is often used for events in the more distant future. Because the futur simple is associated with distant future events, it often takes on a detached, objective quality making it the preferred tense for future events that represent general truths.

    For example: Qui vivra, verra (Whoever will live, will see)

    The two tenses also indicate a difference in the speaker's perception of the future event. The futur proche indicates that the speaker is relatively certain that the future event will actually happen. In contrast, the futur simple indicates that the speaker is less certain of the future event coming to pass.



    Suppose that a very disturbed man has just climbed out onto the ledge of a skyscraper. The man begins to lose his balance. A horrified onlooker sees the man beginning to teeter and screams (choose what is more plausible): 

    1. Il tombera ! (futur simple) 2. Il va tomber ! (futur proche)


    2. Il va tomber ! (futur proche)

    La formation du futur simple régulier

    The 'simple' future (le futur) is so-named because it is a one-word tense. In other words, its formation is simple because there is no auxiliary.
    The endings for the simple future are: -ai-as-a-ons-ez-ont. The future stem for -er and -ir verbs is the infinitive. For regular -re verbs, the stem is the infinitive minus the final e. In all cases, the future stem ends in -r: this sound characterizes the future and the conditional. The French simple future tense is generally translated into English with the modal auxiliary 'will.'

    nager  'to swim'
    je nagerai, I will swim nous nagerons, we will swim
    tu nageras, you will swim vous nagerez, you will swim
    il, elle / on nagera,
    he, she (it) / one will swim
    ils / elles nageront, they will swim



    Some -er verbs with spelling changes in the present form their future regularly, that is, their future stem is the infinitive. These include verbs like préférer (je préférerai), manger (je mangerai) and commencer (je commencerai). Other -er verbs with spelling changes in the present (appeleremployeracheter) have irregular future stems.

    réfléchir  'to think'
    je réfléchirai, I will think nous réfléchirons, we will think
    tu réfléchiras, you will think vous réfléchirez, you will think
    il, elle / on réfléchira, he, she (it) / one will think ils / elles réfléchiront, they will think


    rendre  'to give back'
    je rendrai, I will give back nous rendrons, we will give back
    tu rendras, you will give back vous rendrez, you will give back
    il, elle / on rendra, he, she (it) / one will give back ils / elles rendront, they will give back



    Many verbs which are irregular in the present tense have regular formations in the future. Their future stems are the infinitive or the infinitive minus the final e. Such verbs include sortir (je sortirai), partir (je partirai), dormir (je dormirai), boire (je boirai), dire (je dirai), écrire (j'écrirai), lire (je lirai), mettre (je mettrai), prendre (je prendrai), and suivre (je suivrai).


    Mettez les phrases au futur simple

    1. Les étudiants de UH (partir) en France en été. 2. Shasta (manger) de la viande ce weekend. 3. Je (choisir) mon futur partenaire en prenant en compte notre compatibilté astrologique.


    1. partiront 2. mangera 3. choisirai 


    La formation du futur simple irrégulier

    Some irregular verbs also have irregular future stems. Nevertheless, the future endings are the same for all verbs: -ai-as-a-ons-ez-ont. The future stem for the verb être is ser- and the future stem for the verb avoir is aur-.


    être  'to be'
    je serai, I will be nous serons, we will be
    tu seras, you will be vous serez, you will be
    il, elle / on sera, he, she (it) / one will be ils / elles seront, they will be


    avoir  'to have'
    j'aurai, I will have nous aurons, we will have
    tu auras, you will have vous aurez, you will have
    il, elle / on aura, he, she (it) / one will have ils / elles auront, they will have

    Here are the most common verbs that have irregular future stems:

    infinitive stem future translation
    aller ir- j'irai I will go
    courir courr- je courrai I will run
    devoir devr- je devrai I will be obliged to
    envoyer enverr- j'enverrai I will send
    faire fer- je ferai I will do
    falloir faudr- il faudra it will be necessary
    mourir mourr- je mourrai I will die
    obtenir obtiendr- j'obtiendrai I will obtain
    pleuvoir pleuvr- il pleuvra it will rain
    pouvoir pourr- je pourrai I will be able
    recevoir recevr- je recevrai I will receive
    savoir saur- je saurai I will know
    tenir tiendr- je tiendrai I will hold
    venir viendr- je viendrai I will come
    voir verr- je verrai I will see
    vouloir voudr- je voudrai I will want

    Verbs with spelling changes like appeleremployer, and acheter add -r to the present tense je form to create their future stems, but other -er verbs verbs with spelling changes including préférermanger, and commencer have regular future stems.

    present tense stem future translation
    j'appelle appeller- j'appellerai I will call
    j'emploie emploier- j'emploierai I will use
    j'achète achèter- j'achèterai I will buy
    Mettez les phrases au futur simple

    1. Les étudiants de UH (voir) la Tour Eiffel à Paris.  2. Shasta (faire) du sport le weekend prochain. 3. Dans dix ans tu (être) heureux. 


    1. verront 2. fera 3. seras 

    Verbes pronominaux idiomatiques

    Pronominal verbs often express reflexive actions, that is, the subject performs the action on itself. If the subject performs the action on someone else, the verb is not reflexive.

    For example : Je me lave vs. Je lave mon chien.

    However, some pronominal verbs are idiomatic and do not represent reflexive actions per se. s'amuser (to have fun) and se reposer (to rest) are examples of pronominal verbs with idiomatic meanings. The following list includes common idiomatic pronominal verbs:

    s'amuser, to have fun
    se dépêcher, to hurry
    s'endormir, to fall asleep
    s'ennuyer, to be bored
    s'entendre, to get along
    se fâcher, to get angry
    se marier, to get married
    se passer, to happen
    se reposer, to rest
    se sentir, to feel
    se souvenir de, to remember
    se taire, to be silent
    se tromper, to make a mistake
    se trouver, to be (situated)


    Verbes pronominaux réciproques

    A third category of pronominal verbs expresses a reciprocal action between more than one person, s'aimer or se parler, for example. The English equivalent often uses the phrase 'each other' to represent this reciprocal action. Here is a list of common reciprocal verbs:


    s'aimer, to love each other
    se détester, to hate each other
    se disputer, to argue
    s'embrasser, to kiss
    se parler to talk to each other
    se quitter, to leave each other
    se regarder, to look at each other
    se retrouver, to meet each other
    se téléphoner, to telephone each other

    To form the imperative of pronominal verbs, drop the subject pronoun and then attach the reflexive pronoun with a hyphen to the right side of the verb. The reflexive pronoun te becomes toi when used in the imperative. Dépêche-toi! Hurry up!, Souvenons-nous. Let's remember., Amusez-vous! Have fun!

    Mettez les phrases au présent

    1. Je (ne pas s'ennuyer) pendant mes cours. 2. Nous (se dépêcher) pour arriver à l'heure. 3. Mes amis (s'amuser) bien en boîtes de nuit.


    1. je ne m'ennuie pas... 2. nous nous dépêchons... 3. Mes amis s'amusent...

    This page is an adoptation of Francais Interactif. For more information, see the following links:


    This page titled 3.3: Grammaire - présentation is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Viola Green, Raymond Gnanwo Houfondji, Julie Tolliver, and Céline Wilson.

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