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Future Tense

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Like other tenses in English, the future tense has more than one form:

                                                           I will go to school.
incomplete or progressive  
                           I will be going to school.

Both forms are translated into German by a single future-tense conjugation, which consists of the present-tense conjugation of werden and an infinitive located at the end of the sentence.

Ich werde zur Schule gehen.                      I’ll go to school.
Er wird seinen Onkel besuchen.               He’ll visit his uncle.
Die Männer werden Karten spielen.        The men will play cards.

Another way to express the future tense in German is by a present-tense conjugation where the future tense is inferred or understood by the context or because of an adverb accompanying the verb.

Was macht ihr morgen?                                        What are you doing tomorrow?

Wir fahren in die Stadt.                                          We’re driving to the city.

Fährt euer Vater auch mit?                                  Will your father be going along?
Ich habe nächste Woche eine Prüfung.              I have a test next week.

Take note that English often does something similar, as in the last example: I have a test next week. This sentence is in the present tense, but the meaning is the future tense.

Future perfect tense

The future perfect tense in German is used like its counterpart in English. It consists of the conjugation of werden followed by a past participle and either haben or sein, whichever auxiliary is appropriate for the verb in question. It is called “future” and “perfect,” because it combines a form of werden with a participle and its auxiliary—for example, werden + gesprochen + haben. The auxiliary haben or sein will always be in the infinitive form.

Let’s compare the future-tense conjugation with the future perfect tense.

                    future                                    future perfect
ich               werde kommen                  werde gekommen sein (will come, will have come)
du               wirst kommen                    wirst gekommen sein
er                wird kommen                     wird gekommen sein
wir             werden kommen                 werden gekommen sein
ihr             werdet kommen                   werdet gekommen sein
sie             werden kommen                  werden gekommen sein

In essence, these two tenses are formed in the same way if you consider the participle and infinitive of the future perfect tense as a participial infinitive composed of those two elements. Therefore, the structure is werden + the infinitive or participial infinitive.

ich werde sprechen                                 I will speak
ich werde gesprochen haben                I will have spoken

The future perfect tense is used to tell that something will have occurred by a certain point in time in the future.

Sie werden bis morgen Abend angekommen sein.   They’ll have arrived by tomorrow evening.