The Future Tense
You're probably familiar with the old song,
And that's it! What could be simpler than one set of endings for all verbs in the future? You're probably wondering why all the tenses don't share endings. Well, in Chapter 12 we'll see one more that does. For now, though, let's look a bit more carefully at the future.
English uses the auxiliary verb “will” plus an infinitive to express the future. The subject pronoun and “will” are often contracted into “I'll,” “you'll,” “we'll,” etc. In Spanish the future is formed by a single word: the infinitive with a future ending. Whether or not you choose to use the subject pronoun as well, there is nothing to contract in Spanish.
The endings for the future tense are all regular, as we've seen. However, there are a few verbs that change slightly before you add the future ending:
Three Ways to Talk about the Future
As you have seen, there are many ways to talk about the future. You can use the simple present and a word referring to the future for a very subtle future tense; you can use the formula
(Tomorrow we eat with Marisa.)
(I'm going to dress up for the party.)
(You will call the doctor, won't you?)
The future tense can predict or project; it can even be rather commanding. For example, imagine a mother telling her little boy:
Cause and Effect
Another use of the future tense in Spanish is to express the outcome in a cause and effect statement like this:
(If I get up late, I'll miss the train.)
(If you eat well, you'll be healthy.)
(We'll play better if we practice more.)
Notice that reflexive verbs still have their pronoun in the future tense. Be sure to place them before the verb in this form.
The future tense is also used in a very interesting way in Spanish to express conjecture. Imagine that someone knocks at your door and you wonder aloud who it could be. In Spanish you would say:
Practice: What Will the Future Bring?
Complete each sentence using the future tense of the verb in parentheses. Then check your responses and understanding of each statement in Appendix D.
Si tú nos invitas, nosotros__________ (ir) a tu casa la semana que viene. Juan hace mucho ejercicio;__________ (estar) en muy buena forma. Mañana yo__________ (empezar) a correr cada día con Ramón. Tú tienes mucha fiebre; ¿__________ (llamar) al doctor? ¿Qué__________ (hacer) Maro y Estéban si dejan de jugar al fútbol?