What is the future tense and how do you form it in French?
The future tense is used to indicate upcoming events or actions. In English, its construction is "will + verb."
Forming the future in French is easy. For most verbs, simply add the following endings to the infinitive: -ai, -as, -a, -ons, -ez, -ont.
You will call me tomorrow, right?
Tu me téléphoneras demain, oui?
Note the second-person singular future tense of téléphoner. Simply take the infinitive and add the appropriate future ending, -as.
Claire will go back to France in six months
Claire retournera en France dans six mois
Note the third-person singular future tense of retourner. Take the infinitive and add the proper ending, -a.
We will eat the eggs
Nous mangerons les oeufs
Note the first-person plural future tense of manger. Simply take the infinitive and add the proper ending, -ons.
I will study tomorrow
Note the first-person singular future tense of étudier. Simply take the infinitive and add the proper ending, -ai.
They will finish their work soon
Ils finiront bientôt leur travail
Note the third-person plural future tense of finir. Simply take the infinitive and add the proper ending, -ont.
No car will work. We need something bigger
Nulle voiture ne marchera. Il nous faut quelque chose de plus grand
not any, no - nul... ne. Note the feminine form of nul to agree with the noun. You could also say Aucune voiture ne va marcher, which is less formal.
When conjugating the future tense, are all verb stems derived from the infinitive?
No. Certain commonly used verbs (like avoir, être, aller, faire, pouvoir, venir) have irregular stems for the future tense.
We will go to the park today
Aujourd'hui, on ira au parc
Aller does not use its infinitive as a stem in the future tense. Instead, it uses its irregular stem, ir-.
I will be in France next week
Je serai en France la semaine prochaine
The irregular future stem for être is ser-. The infinitive is not used as the stem.
(formal) You will have your chance
Vous aurez votre chance
The irregular future stem for avoir is aur-. The infinitive is not used as the stem. Also note that chance is a feminine noun.
It will be cold tomorrow
Il fera froid demain
The irregular future stem for faire is fer-. The infinitive is not used as the stem. Recall that faire is used when talking about the weather.
I will have a coffee and a croissant
Je prendrai un café et un croissant
The future stem for prendre is prendr-. It is slightly irregular in that the infinitive is not fully used as the stem: when a verb ends with an "e," the letter is dropped in the future to add the ending. For example, conduire becomes conduir-. All future stems should end with "r."
I will have to sing at the concert
Je devrai chanter au concert
The future stem for devoir is irregular: devr-. The infinitive is not used as its stem.
We will see them in two weeks
Nous les verrons dans deux semaines
The future stem for voir is irregular: verr-. The infinitive is not used as its stem.
You will come with us this afternoon
Tu viendras avec nous cet après-midi
The future stem for venir is irregular: viendr-.
I will send you a message this afternoon
Je t'enverrai un message cet après-midi
The future stem for envoyer is irregular: enverr-. Also note that message is a masculine noun.
It will rain tomorrow
Il pleuvra demain
The future stem for pleuvoir is irregular: pleuvr-.
Tomorrow I will see my former professor
Demain, je verrai mon ancien professeur
old, former - ancien. The feminine form is ancienne. This adjective takes on this meaning when placed before a noun. When placed after a noun, it literally means "old" or "ancient": un prof ancien means "an aged/old professor."
He will give us his old computer
Il nous donnera son ancien ordinateur
a computer - un ordinateur
He surfs the Internet all day
Il surfe sur Internet pendant toute la journée
to surf (the Internet) - surfer (sur). Note that Internet is a masculine noun.
I want to take pictures of the safari with my digital camera
Je veux prendre des photos du safari avec mon appareil photo numérique
a (digital) camera - un appareil photo (numérique). Note the expression prendre des photos, "to take pictures." Also note that "a video camera" is une caméra (vidéo).
I will show you my video camera the day after tomorrow
Je te montrerai ma caméra après-demain
the day after tomorrow - après-demain
I will get angry if you leave
Je me fâcherai si tu pars
Note how the future tense is used with si ("if") clauses. If the condition in the clause is met, the future is employed to describe what will happen.
If you feed them, the rabbits will grow
Si tu les nourris, les lapins se développeront
Note how the future is used to indicate what will happen if the condition in the initial si clause is met.
When he returns, we will speak to him
Quand il rentrera, nous lui parlerons
The future tense is used after certain conjunctions (like quand) when the main verb's action will take place in the future (in other words, when the action has not yet occurred). In English, the present tense is normally used.
You will see him when/as soon as he arrives
Tu le verras lorsqu'il arrivera
The action following the conjunction (lorsque) has not yet occurred, so the following verb is conjugated in the future. In English, the present is used.
We will start as soon as they arrive
Nous commencerons dès qu'ils arriveront
The future is used after dès que when the action of the verb will take place in the future. The present is normally used in English.
What is the conditional mood and how do you form it in French?
The conditional indicates actions that are not guaranteed to happen -- they are dependent on conditions. In English, its construction is "would + verb."
The most basic form of the conditional is the present conditional. It is formed by adding the endings -ais, -ais, -ait, -ions, -iez, -aient to the future stem of the verb.
In your position, I would leave
À ta place, je partirais
Note the first-person singular in the present conditional of partir. Simply take the future stem (in this case, the infinitive) of the verb and add the appropriate ending, -ais. Also note the use of the feminine noun place to mean "position" or "situation."
Would you help me?
Est-ce que tu m'aiderais?
Note the second-person singular in the present conditional of aider. Take the future stem of the verb and add the proper ending, -ais.
He would swim, but it's too cold
Il nagerait, mais il fait trop froid
Note the third-person singular in the present conditional of nager. Take the future stem (in this case, the infinitive) of the verb and add the appropriate ending, -ait.
We would eat in that case
Nous mangerions dans ce cas-là
in that case - dans ce cas-là. Note the first-person plural in the present conditional of manger.
(formal) You would like this novel
Vous aimeriez ce roman
Note the second-person plural in the present conditional of aimer.
They would be happy to go with you
Ils seraient heureux d'aller avec toi
Note the third-person plural in the present conditional of être, which has an irregular stem just like in the future tense.
I would go to the store but it's closed
J'irais au magasin mais il est fermé
Recall that aller has an irregular stem, which is used in both the future and present conditional.
They say (that) they will come
Ils disent qu'ils viendront
In indirect discourse, the future is used when the verb in the main clause is in the present tense.
She asked me if you would come
Elle m'a demandé si tu viendrais
In indirect discourse, the conditional is used when the verb in the main clause is in the past tense (either the passé composé or the imperfect).
We would stay at home. We should stay at home
Nous resterions à la maison. Nous devrions rester à la maison
Note how in the present conditional, the verb devoir indicates obligation or necessity; it is best translated as "should" rather than "would."
If you finish your work, I will give you the present. If you have finished your work, I am going to give you the present
Si tu finis ton travail, je te donnerai le cadeau. Si tu as fini ton travail, je vais te donner le cadeau
If a si clause is in the present or passé composé, the main verb can be in either the present, future, or imperative.
If I had the time, I would give him the book
Si j'avais le temps, je lui donnerais le livre
If a si clause is in the imperfect tense, the main verb should be in the present conditional. Constructions like this indicate what would happen (present conditional) if something else happened (imperfect). In other words, the conditions are presented in the imperfect.
If you call him he will come
Si vous l'appelez il viendra
Notice how the si clause is in the present, which means the main verb can be in either the future or the present.
We would read more if we had the time
Nous lirions plus si nous avions le temps
Note the first-person plural in the present conditional of lire. The si clause is in the imperfect, which means the main verb must be in the conditional.
If my brother were there, he would know what to do
Si mon frère était là, il saurait quoi faire
Note that the future/conditional stem for savoir is saur-. Savoir is conjugated in the conditional because the si clause is in the imperfect.
She won't go in case he comes
Elle n'ira pas dans le cas où il viendrait
in case - au cas où, dans le cas où. These conjunctive phrases are usually followed by the conditional.
She is so smart
Elle est si intelligente
so - si
She wasn't as athletic as she thought
Elle n'était pas si athlétique qu'elle pensait
that, as - si. Note the use here of si in a comparison.
It wasn't that hard
Ce n'était pas si difficile
that, as - si. Another way of putting this is "It wasn't as hard as that."
We are going to stop even if she doesn't come
Nous allons arrêter même si elle ne vient pas
even if - même si
He acted as if there was nothing weird going on
Il se comportait comme s'il ne se passait rien de bizarre
as if, as though - comme si. Note how si is shortened to s' before il.
If only I were taller!
Si j'étais plus grand!
The imperfect tense can be paired with si to express suggestions or wishes. Another example: Et si on sortait ce soir? means "What if we went out tonight?"
Why don't we leave tomorrow? / What if we left tomorrow?
Et si on partait demain?
how about, what if - et si. This construction is used at the beginning of suggestive questions posed in the imperfect.
We would like to go to the park
Nous voudrions aller au parc
The irregular future/conditional stem for vouloir is voudr-. Note how the conditional is used for requests, desires, or commands. Using the conditional for these purposes is polite and serves to soften the statement.
(formal) Would you be able to help me tomorrow?
Pourriez-vous m'aider demain?
The irregular future/conditional stem for pouvoir is pourr-. Also note how the conditional is used here to soften a request. Another translation of this question is simply, "Could you help me tomorrow?"
I would like some bread
Je voudrais du pain
The verb vouloir is often used in the conditional to politely request something. It's softer than "I want some bread."
I would like to go to Paris, but I can't
J'aimerais aller à Paris, mais je ne peux pas
The verb aimer is often used in the conditional to indicate a desire.
(formal) Could you (possibly) direct us toward the dining room?
Sauriez-vous nous diriger vers la salle à manger?
Savoir can be used in the conditional for formal requests of a person's knowledge. In this context, it is like pouvoir in that it means "to be able to."
Jean is the head of the family
Jean est à la tête de la famille
a head - une tête. Note the expression être à la tête, which means "to lead" or "to head."
He closed his eyes
Il a fermé les yeux
eyes - les yeux. Definite articles are typically used with body parts (instead of possessive adjectives). In this case, les is used instead of ses. The singular form is un oeil. Finally, note that the expression "in the eyes of" is translated by aux yeux de.
She washes her hands
Elle se lave les mains
a hand - une main. Reflexive verbs are frequently used with body parts.
I'm combing my hair because I have to go to work
Je me peigne les cheveux parce que je dois aller au travail
to comb one's hair - se peigner les cheveux
My head hurts
J'ai mal à la tête
to hurt - avoir mal. Note that avoir mal is used when something is hurting, whereas the action of causing pain is expressed with faire mal.
He was so tall that he hit his head on the ceiling
Il était si grand qu'il s'est cogné la tête contre le plafond
to hit (body part on something) - se cogner (quelque chose contre quelque chose)
My teeth hurt!
J'ai mal aux dents!
teeth - les dents. This is a feminine noun.
Marie brushes her teeth every morning
Marie se brosse les dents chaque matin
to brush one's teeth - se brosser les dents. Se brosser by itself means "to brush (oneself)."
Why is he raising his hand?
Pourquoi lève-t-il la main?
to raise, to rise - lever. Recall that the reflexive se lever means "to get up."
She brushed herself. She brushed her teeth. She brushed them
Elle s'est brossée. Elle s'est brossé les dents. Elle se les est brossées
In the first sentence, the reflexive pronoun s' is the direct object, so the participle brossée agrees with it. In the second sentence, the reflexive pronoun is no longer the direct object, so there is no agreement (brossé). In the third sentence, les dents (a feminine plural noun) is replaced by the object pronoun les, which serves as the preceding direct object, so the participle agrees.
He's going to get his feet dirty
Il va se salir les pieds
a foot - un pied. Recall that possessive adjectives are almost never used when talking about body parts.
He broke the guitar by throwing it
Il a cassé la guitare en la jetant
to throw - lancer, jeter. Note that jeter often means "to throw away." Also recall the use of the gerund to say "by ___ing."
I broke my leg
Je me suis cassé la jambe
a leg - une jambe. Note how casser requires a reflexive pronoun in this context.
She has really long fingers
Elle a les doigts très longs
a finger - un doigt. Note that you could also say Ses doigts sont très longs -- "Her fingers are very long."
She only has nine toes
Elle n'a que neuf orteils
a toe - un orteil
My uncle has the world's biggest nose
Mon oncle a le plus grand nez du monde
the nose - le nez. Note that you could change the order and say Il a le nez le plus grand du monde.
You have to close your mouth while eating
Il faut fermer la bouche en mangeant
the mouth - la bouche
Vegetables are good for one's health
Les légumes sont bons pour la santé
health - la santé
I feel sick
Je me sens mal
to feel sick - se sentir mal
Her son is very sick
Son fils est très malade
sick, ill - malade. This word can be used as a noun, meaning "a patient" or "a sick person." Also note that "to become sick" is tomber malade.
Jean and Marie have the same illness
Jean et Marie ont la même maladie
a sickness, an illness - une maladie
You had a pain in your arm
Tu as eu une douleur au bras
pain - la douleur. Note the masculine noun for "arm," bras, as well as the construction douleur à...
He sleeps flat on his stomach
Il dort à plat ventre
the belly, the stomach - le ventre, l'estomac. Note that "to have a stomach ache" is avoir mal au ventre.
His neck hurts
Son cou lui fait mal
the neck - le cou. Note that "the throat" is la gorge.
I will get a new cell phone this afternoon; I just broke the old one
J'achèterai un nouveau portable cet après-midi; je viens de casser l'ancien
a cell phone - un (téléphone) portable. Note that acheter has a slightly irregular stem in the future and conditional: achèter-.
I need a new laptop
J'ai besoin d'un nouvel ordinateur portable
a laptop - un (ordinateur) portable. Recall that nouveau becomes nouvel when it is followed by a vowel sound.
Hold on, I'll turn up the volume
Deux secondes, j'augmenterai le volume
volume - le volume. Note how augmenter, "to increase," is used here. You can also say monter le son, "turn up the sound." (For the opposite action, use baisser le son.) Finally, deux secondes is a common expression, meaning "hold on" or "one sec."
On one hand, we can wait until tomorrow. On the other, tonight would be fun
D'une part, on peut attendre jusqu'à demain. De l'autre, ce soir serait bien amusant
on one hand... on the other - d'une part... de l'autre. An alternative is the construction d'un côté... de l'autre.
Do you have the means to bring a car?
As-tu moyen d'amener une voiture?
to have a way/the means to - avoir (un) moyen de
We had the chance to take one of the college's best courses
Nous avons eu l'occasion de suivre l'un des meilleurs cours de l'université
to have the chance to - avoir l'occasion de. Note how un becomes l'un here. This is a common practice, usually done when un is used as a pronoun.
Yes but that had nothing to do with his trip to Paris
Oui mais cela n'avait rien à voir avec son voyage à Paris
(to have) nothing to do with - (n'avoir) rien à voir avec
She wants to watch TV instead of going to the movies
Elle veut regarder la télé au lieu d'aller au cinéma
instead of, in place of - au lieu de, plutôt que, à la place de
The list is very suitable to us
La liste nous convient très bien
to suit, to be suitable to - convenir à. Note the feminine noun liste.
Yes, indeed I adore her as an actress
Oui, effectivement je l'adore en tant qu'actrice
as - en tant que. Note the adverb effectivement, which means "actually" or "indeed." An alternative to effectivement is en effet.