The Future Tense in Italian (and why is it different from English?)
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 wound sound weird).
- I’m leaving tomorrow – Domani parto (near future or certain action)
- Will you come tonight? – Vieni stasera? (near future or certain action)
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.
- un giorno, andrò in Giappone – one day, I will go to Japan*
- tra 20, useremo solo le macchina in elettriche – in 20, we will only use electric cars*
- tra 10 anni, pagheremo solo con le carte di credito – in 10 years, we will only pay with credit cards*
*distant future or uncertain future
Future Simple vs. Present Simple in 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 ESSERE||Future of AVERE|
|sarò - I will be||avrò - I will have|
|sarai - you will be||avrai - you will have|
|sarà - he/she will be||avrà - he/she will have|
|saremo - we will be||avremo - we will have|
|sarete - you (all) will be||avrete - you (all) will have|
|saranno - they will be||avranno - they will have|
Future conjugation of regular verbs
(1st group verb)
(2nd group verb)
(3rd group verb)
More uses of the Italian future tense
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.”
- Dov’è Marco? Non so, sarà in giardino – Where is Marco? I don’t know, it might be in the garden (or he’s maybe 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