The Future Tense in Italian: A Simple Guide

The most important thing to remember when learning the future in Italian is that it is used less in Italian than in English.

In fact, Italian has a tendency (which comes from Latin) to use the present simple to talk about the near future or a certain future (so, using the future simple in the following examples would sound weird). 

Expressing near/certain future in Italian

Italian Presente Tense*
I’m leaving tomorrowDomani parto*
Will you come tonight?Vieni stasera?*

*These translations express actions that happening in the near or immediate future.

Expressing far/uncertain future in Italian

Italian Future Tense**
One day, I will go to JapanUn giorno, andrò in Giappone**
In 20 years, we will only use electric carsTra 20 anni, useremo solo le macchine elettriche**
In 10 years, we will only pay with credit cardsTra 10 anni, pagheremo solo con le carte di credito**

**These translations express actions that are in the distant or uncertain future using future tense verbs in Italian.

In short, we can say that the Italian future tense does not directly translate “the future with will into” English. Instead, it translates the idea of a future that is not near or uncertain.

English vs. Italian

Whenever it comes to translating the “will” form into Italian, you should think: is this something which is going to happen, almost certainly or in the near future? If so, use the present tense in this case. Otherwise, use the proper future simple, if you’re talking about something that is unlikely to happen or will happen in the distant future (in two, ten, or twenty years, for example) or is just an assumption

Future conjugation of essere and avere 

Future of ESSEREFuture of AVERE
sarò – I will beavrò – I will have
sarai – you will beavrai – you will have
sarà – he/she will beavrà – he/she will have
saremo – we will beavremo – we will have
sarete – you (all) will beavrete – you (all) will have
saranno – they will beavranno – they will have

Future conjugation of regular verbs 

(1st group verb)
(2nd group verb)
(3rd group verb)

More uses of the Italian future tense (Il futuro di possibilità)

But there is more to it. The future tense is most commonly used to express probability or a guess (especially the future tense of the verb to be, essere). Because in English the future with will is not used in this way, you can translate this unique Italian form with a “maybe” in front of the verb or with the form “might.”

For instance,

Dov’è Marco? Non so, sarà in giardino.Where is Marco? I don’t know, he might be in the garden.
Che ore sono? Non so, saranno le 10.What time is it? I don’t know, maybe 10.
Saranno buone queste fragole?Are these strawberries good, maybe?
Sarà freddo fuori?Is it maybe cold outside?

Irregular verbs in the future

The conjugation of the future tense is quite straightforward. There aren’t many irregular verbs, but some of those are very important. There is a group of verbs that eliminate the -e from the stem before adding the future tense endings.

Verbs which drops an-e in the future conjugation 

  • dovrò – I’ll have to 
  • potrò – I’ll be able to 
  • saprò – I’ll know
  • andrò – I’ll go 
  • vivrò – I’ll live
  • vedrò – I’ll see
  • cadrò – I’ll fall

And there’s a group of verbs which add two “r” in their stem before adding the future tense endings. 

Verbs which add two “R” in the future conjugation 

  • verrò – I’ll come
  • vorrò – I’ll want
  • berrò – I’ll drink
  • rimarrò – I’ll remain
  • terrò – I’ll keep

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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