Forming the Future Indicative
Now that you have the present tense under your belt, you will find the future tense a breeze. The concepts that apply to the present can also apply to the future with only a few twists. Once again, the key will be relativity.
Present tense forms can be a little challenging because they vary depending on the conjugation of the verb. You may have also noticed in our discussion of present tense forms that first and second conjugations have an affinity. Third and fourth conjugation verbs also share some characteristics.
This pairing of first/second and third/fourth is seen again in future tense forms. For the future tense though, there are two utterly distinct ways to form future tense.
Table 11-2 Future Tense Across the Conjugations
First and second conjugation verbs do their own, distinctive thing. The verb stem shows the theme vowel of the conjugation; then there is a tense indicator and personal ending combination that is quite reminiscent of the -ba- + -m, -s, et cetera, of the imperfect tense. The vowel that fills the -b_m is significant. While the imperfect tense has an -a- straight down the line, the future tense has a vowel that changes as it goes. On reflection, however, the vowel pattern should look familiar. It is the same odd pattern you see in the present tense of third conjugation verbs!
Third and fourth conjugation verbs in future tense march to an entirely different drummer. In third conjugation, the short vowel -e- remains and only shifts to -a- in the first person singular where the old personal ending -m returns. Once again, -iī verbs form future tense the same way as third conjugation verbs, but add an -i- wherever regular third conjugation verbs don't have one. For the future tense, regular thirds never do, so -iī verbs in the future tense always have the stem -iē-onto which the personal endings are attached.
You will never learn the future subjunctive because it does not exist. By nature, the future is only an idea. Since the subjunctive mood already treats action as an idea, there is no need for a future subjunctive. So how can the indicative (the “fact” mood) have a future tense? Remember: grammatical mood shows how action is treated, so the future indicative only treats a future event as a “fact.”