Future tense

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Years ago I learnt the future tense (eg. Hablaré, hablarás, hablará etc) and I use it all the time.. but when I said it to a Chilean friend the other day, he said it wasnt right.
Can you use this tense in any context, or is "voy a hablar" more common?
Muchas Gracias!

6367 views
updated JUN 3, 2009
posted by Nomes

4 Answers

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I think the problem was with the context.. It was something along the lines of "Mañana iré a la universidad" .... So it sounds like I should have just said "Mañana voy a la universidad" verdad?

"Mañana iré a la universidad" is fine, but it sounds a bit like a prediction, rather than something you whose exact outcome is part of your present plans. Maybe you'll change your mind, maybe you don't know when, or you're just talking about something likely. For a plan, "voy a ir" is more common.

Sentences like "Esta tarde estudiaré español" sound weirder, because you are talking about something you'll be doing in a few hours, but you're talking of it as a prediction, as if you didn't have enough information to use "voy a estudiar", or even "estudio". It is not just how far the future is, but how you present it: probability or prediction / expected outcome based on present information / absolute fact.

Of course, using a rather unconvinced or unenthusiastic tone, you can say "Sí, estudiaré español luego... si me apetece... ¿Quién sabe'".

But if I was talking in the distant future, which would I use? Por ejemplo.. "cuando sea vieja... viajaré a sudamerica / voy a viajar a sudamerica "

Stay away from the "distant future theory". All three possibilities can be used for distant futures as well as very close ones. "Viajaré a Sudamérica" is fine here, since it is only a prediction, something that it is likely to happen in the future. "Voy a viajar" sounds like you've got it all planned already right now, and "viajo a América" (this would be less common here) would be almost like you've checked a crystal ball to see your future, and you speak of it as a fact.

Distant future:

Dentro de 100000 años la tierra desaparecerá (prediction)
Dentro de 100000 años la tierra va a desaparecer (it the obvious conclusion, if you ask me)
Dentro de 100,000 años la tierra desaparece (I know: I come from the future)

updated JUN 3, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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So basically, Lazarus, most often you would just use present tense or ir + a + inf to talk about the future

I think the problem was with the context.. It was something along the lines of "Mañana iré a la universidad" .... So it sounds like I should have just said "Mañana voy a la universidad" verdad?

But if I was talking in the distant future, which would I use? Por ejemplo.. "cuando sea vieja... viajaré a sudamerica / voy a viajar a sudamerica "

I'm very glad somebody finally corrected me... as I said, I've been using it for years and nobody had said anything!

Thanks for the tip! I've learnt / am learning the subjunctive too.

updated JUN 2, 2009
posted by Nomes
0
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Years ago I learnt the future tense (eg. Hablaré, hablarás, hablará etc) and I use it all the time.. but when I said it to a Chilean friend the other day, he said it wasnt right.

Can you use this tense in any context, or is "voy a hablar" more common?

Muchas Gracias!

What exactly did he say was wrong? Did he say that the future tense was wrong in that context or did he say that your construction of the future tense was incorrect. Perhaps you said poneré instead of pondré or something similar.

I think that we need more clarification (context) concerning the error.

Sometimes Spanish seems to use the present tense in cases where English would use the future tense. He may have been remarking about one of those contexts.
Oops-hadn't seen Lazarus' post yet.

updated JUN 2, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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They are different. There are at least three ways to talk about the future, and using the future tense is the least common of all of them:

Present tense: when you are certain that something will happen (Mañana voy al cine)
Construction "Ir a + infinitive": when we are think that something is going to happen, based on the information we have at the moment (Mañana voy a ir al cine)
Future tense: for predictions and suppositions in the present or the future when we don't have all the available information to reach any conclusion (Mañana lloverá, como siempre).

The future tense, although it is very regular and easy to learn, it is not one of the most useful ones; I'd learn the present subjunctive first, if I were you.

updated JUN 2, 2009
posted by lazarus1907