Looking To the Future

Fri, 01/07/2011 - 10:07

At this time of year we are all thinking of the future so let us explore the use of the future tense in Italian:

The good news is that the formation of the future tense is relatively easy as there are no auxiliary verbs or agreements to worry about.

With regular – are verbs, you change the "a" of the infinitive ending to "e" and drop the second "e":

Parlare – parler

Then you add the future tense endings:

[io] parlerò – I will speak
[tu] parlerai – you [familiar] will speak
[lui /lei /Lei] parlerà – he / she / you [polite] / it will speak
[noi] parleremo – we will speak
[voi] parlerete – you [plural] will speak
[loro] parleranno – they will speak

With regular – ere and – ire verbs, you just drop the final e of the infinitive and add the future tense endings:

[io] venderò – I will sell
[tu] finirai – you will finish

Of course, many verbs are irregular and have irregular future stems but the future tense endings remain the same, so if you know the “io” form you can conjugate the rest of the verb. Any grammar book will give you a list but here are the “io” forms of some of the most common irregular verbs:

Essere – to be – io sarò
Andare – to go – io andrò
Vedere– to see – io vedrò
Venire – to come – io verrò
Fare – to do / make – farò
Dire – to say - dirò

The future tense is used to talk about future actions. It is used where English uses the present continuous for the future:

Andrò a Roma la settimana prossima – I’m going to Rome next week

It is also used where English uses the present simple for the future after the word “When”:

Quando Giovanni arriverà, sarò felice – When Giovanni arrives, I’ll be happy.

See if you can change the verb in brackets into the correct future tense form in these sentences:

See if you can change the verb in brackets into the correct future tense form in these sentences:

1. Quando [arrivare] ________ il treno?
2. Loro [prendere] ________ il pranzo al bar.
3. A che ora [finire] ________ il lavoro, Marco?
4.Maria [tornare] ________ alle undici.
5.Noi ci [scrivere] ________ fra qualche giorno.
6. Io te lo [dire] ________ stasera.