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 simplein French.
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 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
Used more in spoken language
More immediate and certain
The Futur simple is always using the same endings after the infinitive
So, for the verb Manger (to eat), we have :
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
Used more in writing
More distant future
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any further questions. A bientôt !