Latinos are just as friendly and charming as it gets. They’ll make you feel instantly at home.
They are also talkative – might tell you personal things you would rather not know – and curious.
How long are you staying?
When are you getting married?
Who will you live with when you move out of your parents’ house?
For those of you who come from rather reserved cultures, all these questions in Spanish can be a little overwhelming.
You might not have noticed, but I chose all the examples above to be in the future.
How comfortable do you feel about expressing future plans and ideas in Spanish?
How well do you know Spanish future tenses?
If you feel like you’d use a quick review, please keep reading.
How to Talk About The Future in Spanish – Key Grammar Structures
Just like English, Spanish also offers a handful of options when it comes to expressing future ideas:
- Present Indicative Tense
- The Verb “IR” + A
- The Simple Future Tense
What are the differences between these structures, and how to use them correctly? Let’s recap the essential points from the easiest to the hardest.
Expressing Future in Spanish with Present Indicative Tense
If you are interested in the Spanish future structures, I reckon you are already familiar with how to express the present in this language.
The great news is, in many situations, you can use the exact same conjugations to talk about the future! Have a look at these examples:
🇪🇸 ¿Qué haces mañana?
🇺🇸 What are you doing tomorrow?
🇪🇸 ¿Cuándo viajas a Madrid?
🇺🇸 When are you traveling to Madrid?
🇪🇸 El primer vuelo a Lima sale a las 8:30 de la mañana.
🇺🇸 The first flight to Lima leaves at 8:30 AM.
🇪🇸 Las noticias empiezan a las 9.
🇺🇸 The news start at 9.
🇪🇸 ¡Apúrate! El banco cierra en 5 minutos!
🇺🇸 Hurry up! The bank closes in 5 minutes.
As you can see, all the verbs – haces, viajas, sale, empiezan, cierra – are conjugated according to the rules of Presente Indicativo.
If you pay close attention to the examples and compare them with their English equivalents, you will notice that both languages rely on the present form, even though the mentioned ideas concern the future.
Does it mean we can always use the present to talk about the future?
Not at all. We only use Presente Indicativo, when we talk about future actions or situations that are already scheduled.
Do you have anything scheduled for this week?
🇪🇸 Test Your Spanish Knowledge 🇪🇸
🇪🇸 Mañana ceno con Tatiana, mi mejor amiga.
🇺🇸 Tomorrow I am having dinner with Tatiana, my best friend.
🇪🇸 El miércoles voy al dentista, para hacerme una limpieza dental.
🇺🇸 On Wednesday I am going to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned.
🇪🇸 El fin de semana me junto con mis alumnos antiguos en un asado.
🇺🇸 On the weekend I am meeting my former students for a barbecue.
Talking About Future Plans in Spanish with The Verb “IR” + A
In many cases, the difference between what’s scheduled and what’s a plan is not very clear.
Consequently, several of the examples above could also be considered a future plan and a different Spanish structure could be used to express the exact same idea.
Oh, come on, don’t look so confused! You have a separate way to talk about future plans in English, too.
🇪🇸 ¿Qué vas a preparar para el almuerzo?
🇺🇸 What are you going to prepare for lunch?
🇪🇸 ¿Quién va a reemplazar a Mónica?
🇺🇸 Who is going to replace Monica?
🇪🇸 ¿Cómo vamos a solucionar este problema?
🇺🇸 How are we going to solve this problem?
🇪🇸 El verano que viene vamos a visitar a los abuelos.
🇺🇸 This coming summer we are going to visit our grandparents.
🇪🇸 Parece que va a llover.
🇺🇸 It looks like it is going to rain.
🇪🇸 El metro está cerrado. Voy a tener que tomar un taxi.
🇺🇸 The subway is closed. I am going to have to take a taxi.
See? It is not that hard. Not at all.
All you need to do is:
- Conjugate the verb IR in the present, according to the subject you are using:
(él / ella, usted)
(ellos / ellas / ustedes) van
|I am going|
you are going
he / she is going
we are going
you are going
(plural)they are going
- Add A, which in this case translates as TO
- Follow with the action verb you need in the infinitive form.
Of course, don’t forget about adding NO, if you want to talk about something that is NOT going to happen, just like here:
🇪🇸 No vamos a hablar de esto ahora.
🇺🇸 We are not going to talk about it now.
🇪🇸 Con toda esta lluvia no vas a necesitar tu bloqueador solar.
🇺🇸 With all this rain you are not going to need your sunblock.
🇪🇸 La pandemia no va a durar para siempre.
🇺🇸 The pandemic will not last forever.
Let’s hope so, at least.
Using Simple Future Tense in Spanish
A schedule or a plan always implies a certain definition of WHEN a given action is supposed to happen.
🇪🇸 la próxima semana
🇺🇸 next week
🇪🇸 in dos meses
🇺🇸 in two months
🇪🇸 el año que viene
🇺🇸 the coming year
Does it mean we cannot talk about the future unless we specify the time?
Not necessarily. There are many future ideas we can express without having to mention when they will happen. Time is not always an essential element for the context we choose.
🇪🇸 ¡Ya verás!
🇺🇸 You’ll see (said as a threat)
🇪🇸 ¿Vendrás a verme al hospital?
🇺🇸 Will you come and see me at the hospital?
🇪🇸 Veré que puedo hacer.
🇺🇸 I’ll see what I can do.
🇪🇸 No te hablaré nunca más.
🇺🇸 I won’t talk to you ever again.
🇪🇸 El bebé comerá mejor si no le das tanta leche.
🇺🇸 The baby will eat better if you don’t give it so much milk.
As you can see, there is absolutely no time reference in those sentences. And there is no need for it either.
The common element here is the use of the Spanish future simple tense – Futuro Simple.
Aggrrrrr, I can almost hear you growl in frustration. You’ve had it with the verb conjugations, haven’t you?
Futuro Simple – Conjugation
No reason for you to be afraid this time. Trust me.
The future tense in Spanish has the easiest conjugation there is.
You don’t have to change anything in the verb. You take the whole infinitive, and you add different endings to it, depending on the subject.
|The -AR verbs||The – ER verbs||The -IR verbs|
|trabajar – to work|
|comer – to eat|
|escribir – to write|
Can you believe it?! It’s the same endings no matter what group the verb belongs to! Almost too good to be true.
Now, let’s practice some more:
🇪🇸 Se lo diré a tus padres.
🇺🇸 I’ll tell your parents about it.
🇪🇸 Te amaré para siempre.
🇺🇸 I’ll always love you.
🇪🇸 Empezaremos sin ellos.
🇺🇸 We’ll start without them.
🇪🇸 Te enfermarás si comes tanto.
🇺🇸 You’ll get sick if you eat so much
🇪🇸 Anna y Lucas finalmente se casarán después de todos estos años.
🇺🇸 Anna and Lucas will finally get married after all these years.
🇪🇸 Los abuelos seguramente te traerán muchos regalos.
🇺🇸 Your grandma and grandpa will surely bring you many presents.
Less Obvious Uses of Simple Future in Spanish – Examples
For those of you who have been learning Spanish for some time now, you might have heard people using the simple future tense in situations that have nothing to do with the future.
Check out these examples:
🇪🇸 ¿Querrá acostarse ya el abuelo?
🇺🇸 Do you think grandpa wants to go to bed already?
🇪🇸 ¿Sabrás por casualidad dónde dejé el paraguas?
🇺🇸 Do you by any chance know where I left the umbrella?
🇪🇸 ¿Tendrás cinco euros en monedas?
🇺🇸 Do you happen to have five euros in coins?
🇪🇸 ¿Podrán llegar un poco antes esta vez?
🇺🇸 Do you think you could arrive a little earlier this time?
🇪🇸 ¿Me darás media hora más de tiempo?
🇺🇸 Can you possibly give me half an hour more time?
The reason why the future tense is used in those sentences is not really obvious. After over 20 years living in South America, I’ve gained enough intuition to understand and even to actively use questions of this kind.
As I see it, futuro simple adds a certain level of extra politeness that a more direct translation from English would not have.
Spanish Future Tenses – Practice
Looking for some more practice?
Let me share with you some great ideas to exercise Spanish future structures:
- Imagine what your city will look like in a hundred years
- Think of questions you would like to ask a fortune teller about your future
- Practice the conditional structure and think of possible future consequences:
🇪🇸 ¿Qué pasará si…?
🇺🇸 What will happen if…?