Future tense
In grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

, a future tense (abbreviated ) is a verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

 form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future (in an absolute tense system), or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future (in a relative tense system).

Expressions of future tense

The concept of the future, necessarily uncertain and at varying distances ahead, means that the speaker may express the future in terms of probability or intent ; the modality of intention is usually but not always present when a future construction is used. Whether future expression is realis or irrealis depends not on any objective, ontological notion of future reality, but rather on the speaker's conviction that the predicted event will at some future moment constitute reality.

In many languages there is no morphological or syntactic indication of future tense. Future meaning is supplied by the context, with the use of temporal adverbs such as "later", or "next year", etc. Such adverbs (in particular words meaning "tomorrow" and "then") can also develop into grammaticalized future tense markers.

In other languages, mostly languages of European origin, specific markers are used to indicate futurity. It is these structures which constitute the use of a "future tense." In many cases, an auxiliary verb is used. The auxiliary+verb sequence is typical of English, where "I will" or "I shall" is followed by the verb root. The auxiliary verb may also be combined with the verb root into a single word form, leading to reanalysis as a simple (one-word) future tense. This is in fact the origin of the future tense in Western Romance languages like Italian (see below). One significant deviation from this pattern, however, is to be found in Portuguese: in that language, a direct object may separate the root verb, and its syntactical marker for futurity ( as in, "eu darlhei," "I will give it"). This process can also go in the other direction.

Thus, a given language may exhibit more than one strategy for expressing futurity. In addition, the verb forms used for the future tense can also be used to express other types of meaning. For example, "will", in English, may express direct volition as well as mark the future form of a verb. The auxiliary werden "become" is used for both the future tense and the passive voice in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....


Germanic Languages

In Germanic languages
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

, including English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, the usual expression of the future is using the present tense, with the futurity expressed using words that imply future action (I go to Berlin tomorrow or I am going to Berlin tomorrow.). There is no simple future tense as such.

However, the languages of the Germanic family can also express the future by employing an auxiliary construction that combines certain present tense verbs with the simple infinitive (stem) of the verb which represents the true action of the sentence. These auxiliary forms vary between the languages.

Other, generally more informal, expressions of futurity use an auxiliary with the compound infinitive of the main verb.


English does not have a dedicated future tense — that is, a grammatical form that, when used, always indicates futurity — nor does it have a form that is mandatory for the expression of futurity. However, some forms are often used to express futurity.

Main forms of future implication

The most common auxiliary verbs used to express futurity are will and shall.

Prescriptive grammarians
Linguistic prescription
In linguistics, prescription denotes normative practices on such aspects of language use as spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and syntax. It includes judgments on what usages are socially proper and politically correct...

 distinguish between these, preferring to express the simple future as will in the second and third persons and shall in the first person, and preferring to express obligation or determination in the opposite cases. However, in modern English worldwide, shall and will are generally used interchangeably, with will being more common. See also shall and will
Shall and will
Shall and will are both modal verbs in English used to express propositions about the future.-Usage:These modal verbs have been used in the past for a variety of meanings...


Other periphrastic forms for the future include:
  • to be going to + Verb, e.g. John is going to leave tonight.
  • to be to + Verb, e.g. John is to leave tonight, which with the zero copula
    Zero copula
    Zero copula is a linguistic phenomenon whereby the subject is joined to the predicate without overt marking of this relationship...

     of newspaper headline style
    Headlinese is nonconversational, abbreviated writing style used in newspaper headlines.-Syntax:Because space is limited, headlines are written in a compressed telegraphic style, using special syntactic conventions:...

     becomes simply to + Verb, e.g. John to leave tonight.

A periphrastic form for the immediate future is
  • to be about to + Verb, e.g. John is about to leave (any minute).

A dialectical form in Northern England is:
  • mun, derived from Old Norse
    Old Norse
    Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

    , which implies obligation.

In all dialects of spoken English both shall and will are commonly elided into ll (I'll go could be either "I will go" or "I shall go") so that the differences between the two have been worn down.

English also uses must, should, can, may and might in a similar way:
  • Must expresses the highest degree of obligation and commitment (I / you must go) and is temporally nearest to present time in its expression of futurity ("I must go now.")
  • Should (the subjunctive form of shall in this context) implies obligation or commitment to the action contemplated.
  • Can implies the ability to commit the action but does not presuppose obligation or firm commitment to the action.
  • May expresses a relatively low sense of commitment (I may go) and is the most permissive (You may go); it can also suggest conditionality (I may go [if I have time]).
  • Might expresses a very low sense of commitment or obligation (I / you might go if I / you feel like it).

English often employs the simple non-past (base form or base form + s in the third person singular) to convey scheduled futurity, as in tomorrow I leave at 5:00.

The simple non-past form is mandatory for expressing the future in a dependent clause when the main clause uses will, shall, or (be) going to: I will see you when I get there (not ...when I will get there); If you build it they will come (not If you will build it...); she will not know that I am there (not ...that I will be there).
Summary of forms
  • I will/shall go
  • I'm going to go / I am going to go
  • I'm to go / I am to go
  • I'm about to go / I am about to go
  • I must go
  • I should go
  • I can go
  • I may go
  • I might go
  • I go

To express futurity in the negative, a negative adverb such as not or never is inserted before the main verb (or the suffix -n't is added to the auxiliary), as in all other auxiliary constructions:
  • I will/shall not go.....I won't/shan't go.....Will/shall I not go?.....Won't/shan't I go?
  • He's not going to go / He is not going to go.....Is he not going to go?.....Isn't he going to go?
  • He's not to go / He is not to go.....Is he not to go?.....Isn't he to go?
  • He's not about to go / He is not about to go.....Is he not about to go?.....Isn't he about to go?
  • I must not go.....I mustn't go.....Must I not go?.....Mustn't I go?
  • I should not go.....I shouldn't go.....Should I not go?.....Shouldn't I go?
  • I cannot go (cannot is conventional rather than can not).....I can't go.....Can I not go?.....Can't I go?
  • He may never go.....May he never go?
  • I might not go.....I mightn't go.....Might I not go?.....Mightn't I go?

In all of these, action within a future range of time is contemplated. However, in all cases, the sentences are actually voiced in the present tense, since there is no proper future tense in English. It is the implication of futurity that makes these present tense auxiliary constructions amount to a compound future quasi-tense.

Imminence versus non-imminence

The construction am/is/are going to + VERB (and its shortened form am/is/are gonna + VERB) can either imply or fail to imply imminence of the action, and the intended implication must be decided from the context. For example, It's going to rain would be interpreted as implying imminence, whereas I'm going to visit Paris someday would not. Therefore, the forms am/is/are going to + VERB and will + VERB cannot be conceptually distinguished on the basis of degree of imminence.

Relation among tense, aspect, and modality implications of "will" and "going to"

Main article: Tense–aspect–mood

Am/is/are going to + VERB always, and will + VERB usually, imply not just futurity but also aspect
Aspect may be:*Aspect , a feature that is linked to many parts of a program, but which is not necessarily the primary function of the program...

 (the way an action or state takes place in time) and/or modality
-Humanities:* In law: the basis of legal argumentation in United States constitutional law* In theology: Modality : the organization and structure of the church, as distinct from sodality or parachurch organizations...

 (the attitude of the speaker toward the action or state). The precise interpretation must be based on the context. Specifically:
  • am/is/are going to + VERB sometimes implies intentional modality, as in I'm going to do that; but sometimes it does not, as in It's going to rain.

  • am/is/are going to + VERB always implies prospective aspect, combining the present focus in the main verb am/is/are going with the futurity of the second verb. Thus, for example, It's going to rain combines a present viewpoint of the situation with a description of the future. This feature is analogous to the retrospective aspect of the English present perfect have/has + VERB + -ed, in which past action is presented from the viewpoint of the present.

  • will + VERB can express aspect alone, without implying futurity: In He will make mistakes, won't he?, the reference is to a tendency in the past, present, and future and as such expresses habitual aspect.

  • will + VERB can express either of two types of modality alone, again without implying futurity: In That will be John at the door, there is an implication of present time and probabilistic mode, while You will do it right now implies obligatory mode.

  • will + VERB can express both intentional modality and futurity, as in I will do it.

  • will + VERB" can express both conditional modality and futurity, as in Don't sit on that rock—it'll fall!

  • will + VERB can express futurity without modality: The sun will die in a few billion years.

Further aspect/tense constructions implying futurity

Additional auxiliary constructions used to express futurity in combination with the aspects perfect, habitual, and/or continuous are labelled as follows:

Future Continuous: Auxiliary + Verb Stem + Present Participle
  • I shall/will be going
  • You will be singing
  • He will be sleeping
  • We may be coming
  • They may be travelling
  • It will be snowing when Nancy arrives
  • It will not be raining when Josie leaves

Future Perfect: Auxiliary + Verb Stem + Past Participle
  • I shall/will be gone
  • You will have sung
  • He will have slept
  • We may have come (We may be come can still be used poetically, but it is obsolete in speech)
  • They may have travelled
  • It will have snowed
  • It will not have rained; It won't have rained

Future Perfect Habitual (or Future Perfect Continuous): Auxiliary + Verb Stem + Past Participle + Present Participle
  • I shall/will have been going
  • You will have been singing
  • He will have been sleeping
  • We may have been coming
  • They may have been travelling
  • It will have been snowing
  • It will not have been raining

Futurity from a past perspective

The time of perspective of the English future can be shifted from the present to the past by replacing will with its past tense form would, thus effectively creating a "future of the past" construction in which the indicated event or situation occurs after the past time of perspective: In 1982, I knew that I would graduate in 1986.


German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 uses only one auxiliary for the future:
  • werden (which on its own means "to become").

There is no compound infinitive in German so the main verb after werden is a simple infinitive. The infinitive main verb is placed at the end of the sentence or clause, however long it may be.


Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 can express the future in two ways:
  • gaan + infinitive: Ik ga het boek lezen (I'm going to read the book). "Gaan" is a cognate
    In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

     of "to go".
  • zullen + infinitive: Ik zal het boek lezen (I will/shall read the book). "Zullen" is a cognate of "shall".

Zullen + infinitive is more similar to 'shall' than to 'will'. It is used to:
  • express a promise or a proposal
  • emphasize that something will certainly happen
  • express that an event is likely going to take place (by explicitly mentioning the probability)

Gaan + infinitive can be compared with the English "going to" . It is used to:
  • to express an intended action (but not a promise, proposal, or solemn plan);
  • to say that an event is going to take place (without emphasizing the certainty or mentioning the probability).

Icelandic and Old Norse

Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

 descends from Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 and indeed is scarcely changed from it in the written form. Icelandic uses the auxiliaries:
  • munu expressing a probable future
  • skulu (shall) implying obligation or determination.

It is believed that in Old Norse munu expressed the pure future, skulu (shall) expressed obligation or determination as it still does, and a third auxiliary, vilja ("will"), expressed will or intent.

A common auxiliary expression of the future, which takes the compound infinitive, is:
  • ætla expressing intention.

(So "Ég ætla að koma"; I will come)


Current standard Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 auxiliaries are:
  • vil (cognate
    In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

     with "will", but not used in exactly the same way)
  • skal (cognate with "shall", but not used in exactly the same way)

An occasional usage is:
  • mon (or in Nynorsk
    Nynorsk or New Norwegian is one of two official written standards for the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. The standard language was created by Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian alternative to the Danish language which was commonly written in Norway at the...



In Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

 the future is usually unmarked, using the present tense form. Sometimes the modals vil ("want") and skal ("must") are used instead to indicate futurity, and sometimes blive "become" can have the meaning "will be". The following distinctions illustrate some of their uses:

Det vil aldrig ske "That will never happen" (a prediction) but Det skal ej ske "That shall not happen" (a promise).

Hvad skal du i aften? "What will you (do) tonight?"; Jeg skal besøge mine forældre i weekenden "I will visit my parents this weekend"; Skal du hjem nu? "Will you go (are you going) home now?".

Han vil hentes "He wants to_be_picked_up"; Han skal hentes "He must be_picked_up". Han vil blive hentet "He will become (be) picked_up (it's already arranged)", but Han skal blive hentet "He will become (be) picked_up (I promise)".

Jeg skal til fødselsdag i morgen "I will (go) to (a) birthday_party tomorrow". Det bliver sjov "That becomes (will be) fun". Vi bliver 15 "We become (will be) 15 (there will be fifteen of us)". Han bliver 40 "He becomes (will be) 40".


Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

skall strongly implies intention, but with an adverb such as nog "probably" it can avoid the implication of intentionality: Det här skall nog gå bra "This here will probably go well". However, the past tense of skall, skulle, can be used without such an adverb to express predictions in the past : Pelle sa, att det skulle bli varmt på eftermiddagen "Pelle said that it would be warm in the afternoon."

Latin and Romance

The future tense forms in Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 varied by conjugation. Here is a sample of the future tense for the first conjugation verb 'amare', 'to love'.
amabo I will (shall) love
amabis you (singular) will love
amabit he, she, it will love
amabimus we will (shall) love
amabitis you (plural) will love
amabunt they will love

See Latin conjugation
Latin conjugation
Latin verbs have four main patterns of conjugation. As in a number of other languages, Latin verbs have an active voice and a passive voice. Furthermore, there exist deponent and semi-deponent Latin verbs , as well as defective verbs...

 for further details. Sound changes in Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

 made future forms difficult to distinguish from other verb forms (e.g. amabit "he will love" vs. amavit "he loved"), and the Latin simple future forms were gradually replaced by periphrastic
In linguistics, periphrasis is a device by which a grammatical category or grammatical relationship is expressed by a free morpheme , instead of being shown by inflection or derivation...

 structures involving the infinitive and an auxiliary verb
Auxiliary verb
In linguistics, an auxiliary verb is a verb that gives further semantic or syntactic information about a main or full verb. In English, the extra meaning provided by an auxiliary verb alters the basic meaning of the main verb to make it have one or more of the following functions: passive voice,...

, such as debere, venire, velle, and especially habere. All of the modern Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 have grammaticalized
In linguistics, grammaticalization is a process by which words representing objects and actions transform through sound change and language migration to become grammatical objects...

 one of these periphrastic constructions for expressing the future tense; none of them has preserved the original Latin future.

Future tense with habere

While Classical Latin used a set of suffixes to the main verb for the future tense, later Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

 adopted the use of habere (to have) with the infinitive, as for example:

petant aut petant venire habet ("whether they ask or do not ask, it will come")

From this construction, the major Western Romance languages have simple future tense forms that derive from the infinitive followed by a conjugated form of the verb "to have" (Latin habere). As the auxiliary verb lost its modal force (from a verb expressing obligation, desire, or intention, to a simple marker of tense), it also lost syntactic autonomy (becoming an enclitic) and phonological substance (e.g. Latin 1st sing. habeo > ayyo > Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 ai, Modern French [e]).
Thus the sequence of Latin verbs amare habeo ("I have to love") gave rise to French aimerai, Spanish amaré, etc. "I will love".

Phonetic changes also affected the infinitive in the evolution of this form, so that in the modern languages the future stem is not always identical to the infinitive. Consider the following Spanish examples:
  • "go out": infinitive salir → 3rd sing. future saldrá (not *salirá)
  • "do": infinitive hacer → 3rd sing. future hará (not *hacerá)

See the grammar articles for the individual languages for more details about verb conjugation.


Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

, although a Romance language, patterns like Balkan languages
Balkan languages
This is a list of languages spoken in regions ruled by Balkan countries. With the exception of several Turkic languages, Hungarian, and Circassian, all of them belong to the Indo-European family...

 such as Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and Serbo-Croatian
Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat, less commonly Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian , is a South Slavic language with multiple standards and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro...

 (cf. Balkan sprachbund) in that it uses reflexes of the verb vrea (to want):
  • "love": infinitive a iubi → 3rd sing. future va iubi

Romanian also forms a future tense from the subjunctive, with a preceding particle, o, also derived from vrea:
  • "love": infinitive a iubi → 3rd sing. future o să iubească (lit. (want) that he love)


In Portuguese, the simple future, called "futuro do presente", is quite similar to Spanish. However, in the informal Brazilian Portuguese, the future may also be formed with the auxiliary verb "ir" (to go) in the simple present and with the main verb in the infinitive (vou cantar, vou bater, etc.).
  cantar bater partir pôr
eu cantarei baterei partirei porei
tu cantarás baterás partirás porás
ele/você cantará baterá partirá porá
nós cantaremos bateremos partiremos poremos
vós cantareis batereis partireis poreis
eles/vocês cantarão baterão partirão porão

Scottish Gaelic

In Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic language
Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language native to Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish, and thus descends ultimately from Primitive Irish....

, the future tense is formed in regular verbs by adding aidh or idh to the end of the root form of the verb (idh is used if the final vowel in the root is i).
  • Danns. (dance.) -> Dannsaidh mi. (I will dance.)
  • Cuir. (put.) -> Cuiridh i. (She will put.)

Inserting cha before the root forms the negative. The initial consonant of the root is lenited
In linguistics, lenition is a kind of sound change that alters consonants, making them "weaker" in some way. The word lenition itself means "softening" or "weakening" . Lenition can happen both synchronically and diachronically...

 where possible, except for d, t or s which in certain cases is not lenited. Chan is substituted if the root begins with a vowel or an f followed by a vowel, which is also lenited.
  • Cha téid mi... (I will not go...)
  • Chan fheuch am peasan sin idir. (That brat will not try at all.)

In the interrogative, an is placed before the root of the verb. If the root begins with b, f, m, or p, am is used instead.
  • An ith thu sin? (Will you eat that?)
  • Am pòg thu i? (Will you kiss her?)

As in English, some forms are irregular - mostly common verbs. For example, the root for the word "to see" is faic, but the positive future tense form "will see" is chì.

The copula is bidh (will be), cha bhi (will not be), am bi (interrogative), and nach bi (negative interrogative).
  • Bidh mi a' tighinn! (I shall be coming!)
  • Cha bhi e an seo a-màireach. (He will not be here tomorrow.)
  • Am bi thu air falbh as t-samhradh? (Will you be away this summer?)
  • Nach bi sibh a' fuireach airson a' bhìdh? (Will not you be staying for the food, sir?)

The linking verb (that will be) is gum bi (positive) or nach bi (negative).
  • Tha ise ag ràdh gum bi esan a' dol. (She said that he will be going.)
  • Tha mi an dòchas nach bi iad sgìth. (I hope that they will not be tired.)


In Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

, the future tense is formed two ways in regular verbs, depending on verb class. Class I verbs add faidh or fidh to the end of the root form of the verb (fidh is used if the final vowel in the root is e or i).
  • Glan. (clean.) -> Glanfaidh mé. (I will clean.)
  • Cuir. (put.) -> Cuirfidh sí. (She will put.)

Class II verbs add óidh or eoidh to the end of the root form of the verb (eoidh is used if the final vowel in the root is e, i, or í).
  • Eistigh. (listen.) -> Eisteoidh mé. (I will listen.)
  • Imir. (play.) -> Imreoidh sí. (She will play.)

Both class I and class II verbs have a special form for the 1st person plural:
  • Glan. (clean.) -> Glanfaimid. (We will clean.)
  • Cuir. (put.) -> Cuirfimid. (We will put.)
  • Eistigh. (listen.) -> Eisteoimid. (We will listen.)
  • Imir. (put.) -> Imreoimid. (We will play.)

The negative is formed by adding . The initial consonant of the root is lenited
In linguistics, lenition is a kind of sound change that alters consonants, making them "weaker" in some way. The word lenition itself means "softening" or "weakening" . Lenition can happen both synchronically and diachronically...

  • Ní fhreastalóidh mé... (I will not serve...)

In the interrogative, an is placed before the root of the verb, which causes eclipsis
Irish initial mutations
Irish, like all modern Celtic languages, is characterized by its initial consonant mutations. These mutations affect the initial consonant of a word under specific morphological and syntactic conditions...

  • An iosfaith tú sin? (Will you eat that?)
  • An bpogfaigh tú í? (Will you kiss her?)

Of the ten listed irregular verbs in Irish, six show irregular future forms:
  • Abair. (say.) -> Déarfaidh sí. (She will say.) (present deireann)
  • Beir. (catch/bring.) -> Béarfaidh sí. (She will bring.) (present beireann)
  • Faigh. (get.) -> Gheobhaidh sí. (She will get.) (present faigheann)
  • Ith. (eat.) -> Iosfaidh sí. (She will eat.) (present itheann)
  • Tar. (come.) -> Tiocfaidh sí. (She will come.) (present tagann)
  • Teigh. (go.) -> Rachaidh sí. (She will go.) (present téann)

One additional irregular verb has an alternate future form:
  • Feic. (see.) -> Chífidh sí. (She will see.) (regular future feicfidh)

The future of verb (be) is beidh (1pl. beimid). The copula is ("is") is is (will be), (will not be), an (interrogative), and nach (negative interrogative).

The linking verb (that will be) is go mbí (positive) or nach bí (negative).
  • Duirt sí go mbeidh sé ag dul. (She said that he will be going.)
  • Tá súil agam nach mbeidh tuirse acu. (I hope that they will not be tired.)


In Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

, most verbal functions are expressed using constructions with bod (to be). The future may be expressed in the same way using the future tense of bod.

Fe fydda i yn... (I will...)
Fe fyddi di yn... (thou wilt...)
Fe fydd e yn... (he will...) etc.

More commonly Welsh uses a construction with "Mynd" (to go)

Futurity can also be expressed by using words that imply future action

Dwi'n mynd yna heddiw: I am going there today.

The simple future, which uses verb suffixes conjugated with the verb, is used to express determination of action or to emphasise confidence in outcome. As in the future of bod, the affirmative marker is fe.

Hebrew (Biblical)

Biblical Hebrew has an entirely different tense system from those understood in the Indo-European language family. There is no future tense as such. Instead, verbs express completed action or uncompleted action. The future is an uncompleted action, though the expression for, for example, "David will give thanks to God" can also mean "David was giving thanks to God". The interpretation depends on the context.

Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew
Modern Hebrew , also known as Israeli Hebrew or Modern Israeli Hebrew, is the language spoken in Israel and in some Jewish communities worldwide, from the early 20th century to the present....

, however, has supplanted the ancient tense system and now contains a future tense.


To form future tense in Arabic the prefix (سـَـ) "sa" is added to the present tense verb, or (سوف) "sawfa".

For example consider the sentence:
I eat apples > "آكلُ تفاحاً" "Akulu tuffahan"

To express the future we have two ways:
I will eat apples > "سـَـآكلُ تفاحاً" "Saakulu tuffahan"
I will eat apples > "سوف آكلُ تفاحاً" "Sawfa akulu tuffahan"

The first is written as part of the verb, whereas the latter is written as a separate word to indicate the future but preceding the verb.

In Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

 the latter indicates an individual future action that usually takes place further in the future than the first mentioned form, which is usually used with verbs that relate to other actions, and mostly referring to rather near future actions.
However, in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) the distinction is minimal.

Moreover, the indication of the future tense in dialectal Arabic is quite varied from one dialect to the next.
Generally speaking, the words meaning "want to" (بدي / أريد أن), "go to" (أروح), "intend to"(ناوي /نويت), and many others are used daily to indicate future actions.
Interestingly, in Moroccan Arabic
Moroccan Arabic
Moroccan Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken in the Arabic-speaking areas of Morocco. For official communications, the government and other public bodies use Modern Standard Arabic, as is the case in most Arabic-speaking countries. A mixture of French and Moroccan Arabic is used in business...

, the word "Ghad" (غاد) is used to indicate future, which literally means "there" (or there is to happen), that is in some way similar to the English formation "there I go.."

Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese has no grammatical tense, instead indicating time of action from the context or using adverbs. However, the auxiliary verb huì, a modal meaning "can", "know how", can alternatively indicate futurity. For lexical futurity, the word yào, which can serve as a verb meaning "to want", can also serve as an adverb meaning "immediately": For example, wǒ yào xǐzǎo can mean either "I want to bathe" or "I am about to bathe".


Creole language
A creole language, or simply a creole, is a stable natural language developed from the mixing of parent languages; creoles differ from pidgins in that they have been nativized by children as their primary language, making them have features of natural languages that are normally missing from...

 are languages with a vocabulary heavily based on a superstrate language but a grammar based on substrate languages and/or universal language tendencies. Some Creoles model a future tense/irrealis mood marker on "go" from the superstrate (analogous to English "am going to"). In many creoles the future can be indicated with the progressive aspect, analogous to the English "I'm seeing him tomorrow." In general creoles tend to put less emphasis on marking tense than on marking aspect. When any of tense, aspect, and modality are specified, they are typically indicated with invariant pre-verbal markers in the sequence anterior relative tense (prior to the time focused on), irrealis mode (conditional or future), imperfective aspect.

Jamaican English Creole

The future marker in Jamaican Creole
Jamaican Creole
Jamaican Patois, known locally as Patois or Jamaican, and called Jamaican Creole by linguists, is an English-lexified creole language with West African influences spoken primarily in Jamaica and the Jamaican diaspora. It is not to be confused with Jamaican English nor with the Rastafarian use of...

 is /de go/ or /a go/: /de go hapm/ "is going to happen", /mi a go ɹon/ "I am going to run".

Belizean Creole English

In Belizean Creole, the future tense is indicated by a mandatory invariant pre-verbal particle /(w)a(n)/, /gwein/, or /gouɲ/.


In Gullah
The Gullah are African Americans who live in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia, which includes both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands....

 the future is indicated by the pre-verbal marker gwine: Uh gwine he'p dem "I'm going to help them".

Hawaiian Creole English

In Hawaiian Creole, the pre-verbal future marker is gon: Ai gon bai wan pickup "I'm going to buy one pickup".

Haitian Creole

Haitian Creole, based on a French superstrate, interchangeably uses pral or va (from French 3rd person singular va "goes") pre-verbally to indicate the future: Mwen va fini lit. "I go finish"; Li pral vini jodi a "He will come today".

External links

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