Future tense: irregular forms
Most Spanish verbs are completely regular as far as the future tense goes.
A handful of verbs have irregular forms. However:
They are only irregular as far as the stem
(the bit that the endings are
added to) is concerned. The future tense endings are still the same
The Spanish verbs with irregular future stems are as follows. Note that
compounds of these verbs follow the same pattern
(e.g. soponer > sopondré etc):
|Verb||Future stem||Example future tense form|
|caber (to fit)||cabr-||cabrá|
|decir (to say)||dir-||dirá que...|
he/she'll say that...
|hacer (to do, make)||har-||lo haré mañana|
I'll do it tomorrow
|poder (to be able to)||podr-||¿podrás?|
will you be able to?
|poner (to put, get/make1)||pondr-||lo pondré en la mesa|
I'll put it on the table
nos pondremos de acuerdo
we'll agree a time (etc)
|querer (to want, love)||querr-||querrán venir|
they'll want to come
|saber (to know)||sabr-||Raul sabrá|
Raul will know
¿sabrás qué hora es?
would you know what time it is?2
|salir (to leave, go out)||saldr-||saldré mañana|
I'll go out tomorrow
|tener (to have, have to)||tendr-||tendré dinero|
I'll have some money
tendrás que preguntar
you'll have to ask
|valer (to be worth)||valdr-||valdrá la pena|
it'll be worth it
|venir (to come)||vendr-||vendremos|
Spanish verbs with irregular future stems.
|haber (to have -en/-ed)||habr-||habrá terminado|
he/she'll have finished
Note that many of these irregular forms involve a "shortening" of the infinitive, typically removing
the final vowel of the infinitive3.
Practise irregular future tense forms
On the next page, you can practise these irregular forms with an
irregular future tense exercise
which also includes revision of the regular future tense forms
you've seen so far.
1. The verb poner has a number of different translations
depending on the exact use.
2. This is an example of an additional function that the future tense has in Spanish, namely
to mitigate a request (that is, "make it sound less direct"). The rough equivalent in English
is to use would you...?, or add a mitigating phrase such as ...at all?, ...by any chance?.
3. The insertion of the epenthetic d is in some sense a
"natural" phonological process, since the non-trilled (flapped) r does not generally
occur after consonants articulated at the same place ([n], [l], [s]) in Spanish.
The trilled r (cf. Enrique) may ultimately derive from an earlier dr sequence.
The shortening of infinitives was apparently more common in an earlier stage of the language,
with forms such as entendremos (nowadays entenderemos).
Nowadays, only the "irregular" forms above survive.
For more information on the historical development of the Spanish future tense,
see Lyons, C. G. (1978), A look into the Spanish Future, Lingua 46:225-244.
Introduction to Spanish verbs
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