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Irregular future tense: Introduction

We use the future tense to talk about something that will happen or will be true in the future. While in English the future tense is constructed by putting “will” or “shall” in front of the verb, in Italian the future tense is made by conjugating the verb (= changing the verb endings). Although most Italian verbs follow a regular conjugation, some verbs have an irregular future tense and therefore do not follow predictable conjugation patterns and must be memorized.

Note: In Italian, we can also use the present tense to refer to events happening in the near future, if the time of the event is specified. For example: Domani vado a scuola (= Tomorrow I will go to school). However, using the future tense to talk about future events is always acceptable, so if you use the future tense you can’t go wrong!

Irregular future tense: Essere and Avere

You might already know the Italian expression “che sarà, sarà” (=what will be, will be). In this expression sarà is simply the irregular conjugation of the verb essere (=to be) in the future tense. Let’s take a look at the future tense conjugation for two of the most used verbs in Italian: essere (=to be) and avere (=to have):

Verb: Essere (= to be) Avere (=to have)
io Sarò Avrò
tu Sarai Avrai
lui/lei Sarà Avrà
noi Saremo Avremo
voi Sarete Avrete
loro Saranno Avranno

 

Irregular future tense: frequently used verbs

The following table shows the future tense of some frequently used verbs. Learning them will be very useful.

Verb: Andare

(= to go)

Venire

(= to come)

Fare

(= to go)

Dire

(=to say)

Dovere

(= must)

Potere

(= can)

io andrò verrò faro dirò dovrò potrò
Tu andrai verrai farai dirai dovrai potrai
lui/lei andrà verrà farà dirà dovrà potrà
noi andremo verremo faremo diremo dovremo potremo
Voi andrete verrete farete direte dovrete potrete
loro andranno verranno faranno diranno dovranno portanno

 

Irregular future tense: Irregular spelling

There are some verbs which mostly follow a regular conjugation pattern, but their spelling is slightly irregular. Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Verbs ending in –ciare and –giare (ex. cominciare, mangiare) drop the “i” before the verb ending:

Da domani non mangerò più carne, voglio diventare vegetariano.

Starting tomorrow, I will not eat meat anymore. I want to become a vegetarian.

Luca comincerà a lavorare lunedì prossimo.

Luca will start working next Monday.

  • Verbs ending in –care and –gare (ex. cercare, pagare) add an extra “h” before the verb ending:

Paolo e Francesca cercheranno un appartamento a Roma?

Paolo and Francesca will look for an apartment in Rome?

Se uso la carta di credito, pagherò il mese prossimo.

If I use my credit card, I’ll pay the next month.

Italian sentences using the irregular future tense

To practice the irregular future tense, take Lesson 57 of the Italian audio course “Ripeti con me!”.

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