Futur Simple vs Futur Proche

futur tense in french

Although they both express something that will happen in a more or less near future, it is worth pointing out a few differences between Futur proche and Futur simple in French.

Examples :

  • Quand j’aurai du temps, j’apprendrai le subjonctif
  • Je vais aller au cinéma demain avec Gabriel

Do you recognize the tenses used above ? Do you know when to use Futur proche vs Futur simple ? Are you confident with If and Quand ?

Don’t worry, if you are unsure, we’ll answer these questions with a quick overview of the future tenses in French

Futur Proche

Futur proche is a construction using the verb Aller + Verb in the infinitive

The logic is almost the same as in English, so this tense is easy to build for my French students.

You still need to practice though so it comes naturally to you. Understanding the logic is not enough to speak French with ease

You translate the Futur proche as “going to do something”

To remember about the Futur proche :

  • Something that is going to happen
  • More informal
  • Used more in spoken language
  • More immediate and certain

Futur Simple

The Futur simple is always using the same endings after the infinitive

So, for the verb Manger (to eat), we have :

  • Je MANGERai
  • Tu MANGERas
  • Il/Elle/On MANGERa
  • Nous MANGERons
  • Vous MANGERez
  • Ils/elles MANGERont

But unfortunately there are a lot of irregular verbs in French Grammar. And unless you learn them by heart there is no rules to remember them.

  • J’aurai (AVOIR = to have)
  • Je serai (ETRE = to be)
  • Je saurai (SAVOIR = to know)
  • J’enverrai (ENVOYER = to send)
  • Je pourrai (POUVOIR = can/be able to)
  • Je voudrai (VOULOIR = to want)
  • J’irai (ALLER = to go)
  • J’appellerai (APPELER = to call)
  • Je tiendrai (TENIR = to hold)

To remember about the Futur simple :

  • Something that will happen
  • More formal
  • Used more in writing
  • More distant future

EXERCICE

Compare the following and see if you can feel the differences

  • Ce soir, je téléphone à Gaston (It’s certain)
  • Ce soir, je vais téléphoner à Gaston (It’s my intention)
  • Ce soir, je téléphonerai à Gaston (If I have time)
futur simple et futur proche rules

Expressions with the Futur

We use the future tense after certain expressions of time when the action is to happen in the future.  In English, these expressions of time are used with the present tense which may cause some confusion.

> Quand (when / lorsque)

ex : Quand j’aurai du temps j’apprendrai le subjonctif
I’ll learn the subjonctive when I have time

ex : Je conduirai un camion quand je serai grand

> Une fois que (once)

ex : Mes amis viendront à l’hôpital une fois que le bébé naîtra
My friends will go to the hospital once the baby is born.

> Tant que (as long as / while / since)

ex : Tant que tu habiteras ici, tu payeras le loyer
As long as you live here, you will pay rent

I hope these tips are useful and that you’ll be able to speak with the future like a native French speaker. Feel free to reach out at bonjour@frenchwithagnes.com should you have any further questions. A bientôt !

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