Futur simple and futur proche

Sometimes mistaken with the present conditional, the futur in French can actually be expressed with two different structures. We generally study the futur once your master the present tense. 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.

Would you recognize the futur proche vs futur simple in these examples ?

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

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

  1. When to use the futur proche vs the futur simple
  2. How to form the futur simple
  3. A few expressions with the futur
futur tense in french

When to use the Futur Proche vs Futur Simple

Firstly, the futur proche (near future) is a construction using :

Aller in the present + Verb in the infinitive.

To express an action that will take place in the very near future of the present, we use the futur proche.

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”.

With the verb MANGER (to eat) :

  • Je vais manger
  • Tu vas manger
  • Il/Elle/On va manger
  • Nous allons manger
  • Vous allez manger
  • Ils/Elles vont manger

With APPRENDRE (to learn)

  • Je vais apprendre
  • Tu vas apprendre
  • Il/Elle/On va apprendre
  • Nous allons apprendre
  • Vous allez apprendre
  • Ils/Elles vont apprendre

With SE LEVER (to get up) :

  • Je vais me lever
  • Tu vas te lever
  • Il/Elle/On va se lever
  • Nous allons nous lever
  • Vous allez vous lever
  • Ils/Elles vont se lever

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 or futur proche

How to form the futur simple

Next, remember that the futur simple is always using the same endings after the infinitive.

We add -ai / -as / -a / -ons /-ez / -ont to the infinitive verb.

It is generally used for :

  • the weather forecast (“il y aura beaucoup de nuages demain”)
  • the astrology (“vous serez riche et pourrez partir à Bora Bora”)
  • the medias (“le président Macron annoncera de nouvelles mesures)
  • the job description (“vous dirigerez une équipe de 10 personnes”)

For MANGER (to eat), we have :

  • Je mangerai
  • Tu mangeras
  • Il/Elle/On mangera
  • Nous mangerons
  • Vous mangerez
  • Ils/elles mangeront

With CHOISIR (to choose) :

  • Je choisirai
  • Tu choisiras
  • Il/Elle choisira
  • Nous choisirons
  • Vous choisirez
  • Ils/Elles choisiront

With SE LEVER (to get up) :

  • Je me lèverai
  • Tu te lèveras
  • Il/Elle se lèvera
  • Nous nous lèverons
  • Vous vous lèverez
  • Ils/Elles se lèveront

For some verbs that end with -re, we will remove the -e of the infinitive :

  • Je dirai (DIRE : to say)
  • J’écrirai (ECRIRE : to write)
  • J’attendrai (ATTENDRE : to wait)

There are also a lot of irregular verbs, with the main ones as follows :

  • 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)

Now compare the following and see if you can feel the differences

  • Ce soir, je téléphone à Gaston (It’s certain) > PRESENT
  • Ce soir, je vais téléphoner à Gaston (It’s my intention) > FUTUR PROCHE
  • Ce soir, je téléphonerai à Gaston (If I have time) > FUTUR SIMPLE

To remember about the futur simple :

  • Something that will happen (but less certain than futur proche)
  • More formal
  • Used more in writing
  • More distant future

If you’d like to improve your French grammar with clear explanations and practice exercises, feel free to get a CLE International book. They have lessons for all learners, whatever your level is. You will surely progress thanks to their comprehensible curriculum.

study the futur tense with french with agnes

Expressions with the futur

Then, 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

futur simple et futur proche rules

Finally, I hope these tips are useful and that you’ll be able to speak with the future like a native French speaker. When you are familiar with the futur, feel free to study the past tenses in French.

Search on French with Agnes blog for more tips and online resources to boost your confidence in French. And for personalized French classes, I’m available  via emails at bonjour@frenchwithagnes.com. A bientôt !

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