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The Spanish Future Tense

The Spanish future tense is one of the most straightforward tenses in Spanish, both in terms of knowing when to use it and how to conjugate it. Let's take a closer look at this tense.

 

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What Is the Future Tense in Spanish?

The future tense in Spanish corresponds to the English construction with "will" plus a verb and is used to talk about actions that are slated to happen in the future or that someone has the intention to carry out. Simple English examples of this concept include: "Tomorrow, I will go to the store," or "Next week, it will rain." With this in mind, let's examine several examples of the future tense in Spanish:

 

y hoy les hablaré de una de mis pasiones:

and today, I'll talk to you about one of my passions:

Caption 4, Ana Carolina La meditación

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Yo creo que esto lo venderemos súper bien. 

I think we'll sell this one really well.

Caption 44, Santuario para burros Tienda solidaria

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El botón [sic] la ayudará con su equipaje y lo subirá en un par de minutos a la habitación.

The porter will help you with your luggage and will take it up to the room in a couple of minutes.

Captions 61-62, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

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Note that as English "will" constructions are often expressed with contractions (the personal pronoun plus apostrophe double l, such as "I'll," "we'll," etc.), many Spanish future tense verbs can be translated to English in this less formal fashion.

 

Conjugating the Future Tense in Spanish 

Conjugating most verbs in the future tense in Spanish is quite simple. You just take the verb's infinitive ("to" form) in its entirety and add the corresponding future tense ending. So, using the verbs in our previous examples, we'd start with their infinitive forms: hablar (to talk), vender (to sell), ayudar (to help), and subir (to take up). You will note that these infinitive verbs fall into all three infinitive verb categories: -ar, -er, and -ir

 

Step two of the process of conjugating Spanish future tense verbs is to memorize the quite simple endings that correspond to their personal pronouns, which are as follows:

 

Personal Pronoun: Ending:
Yo:
Tú: -ás
Él/ella/usted: -á
Nosotros/nosotras: -emos
Vosotros/vosotras: -éis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: -án

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with this information, let's conjugate some future tense verbs using different verbs and personal pronouns than the examples above.

 

1. Suppose we want to say that more than one person "will see" something (with the personal pronoun ustedes, or plural "you"). We would take the infinitive verb ver (to see) and add the appropriate ending (-án) to get verán:

 

Mañana ustedes verán si nos... si nos medimos a ese, a ese reto.

Tomorrow you guys will see if we... if we measure up to that, to that challenge.

Captions 36-37, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 13

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2. Now, let's imagine that you want to tell more than one person in a familiar environment what they'll "need." Oh— and you're in Spain, where the personal pronouns vosotros/as are the way to address more than one person as "you" informally. We'd take the verb for "to need" (necesitar) and the corresponding ending -éis to get necesitaréis:

 

Para empezar a hacer la tortilla española, necesitaréis los siguientes ingredientes:

To start to make the Spanish tortilla, you'll need the following ingredients:

Captions 8-9, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

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3. And finally, what if you would like to say with the tú (informal "you") form to someone what he or she "will discover"? You'd start with the verb descubrir (to discover) and add the -ás ending that goes with to get descubrirás:

 

Pronto lo descubrirás

Soon you'll discover it

Caption 68, X6 1 - La banda - Part 2

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Irregular Verbs in the Spanish Future Tense

As with all Spanish verb tenses, there are some irregular verbs in the future tense in Spanish, many of which are extremely common. That said, it would behoove you to memorize the following stems, which are used in lieu of these verbs' infinitives to conjugate the "top twelve" irregular future tense verbs in Spanish: 

 

Irregular Verb:  Stem:
caber (to fit):  cabr-
decir (to tell): dir-
haber (to have/be): habr-
hacer (to make/do): har-
poder (to be able): podr-
poner (to put): pondr-
querer (to want): querr-
saber (to know): sabr-
salir (to leave): saldr-
tener (to have): tendr-
valer (to be worth): valdr-
venir (to come): vendr-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's conjugate a few of these irregular Spanish future tense verbs: 

 

1. How would we express "I'll say" in Spanish? Rather than the infinitive, we'd take the aforementioned stem for the Spanish verb decir, -dir, and add the ending that corresponds with yo (I), or -é, to get diré:

 

Primero, diré el verbo en infinitivo,

First, I'll say the verb in the infinitive,

Caption 38, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

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2. How would we say "you'll have" in Spanish? Take the stem of the irregular verb tener (to have), tendr-, and add the ending for (you), -ás, to get: tendrás.

 

Sí, después de las clases en grupo, tendrás media hora de descanso

Yes, after the group classes, you'll have a half hour break

Caption 27, El Aula Azul Las actividades de la escuela - Part 1

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3. And finally, what if want to express that "we'll be able" to do something? We'll take podr-, the stem for the verb for "to be able" (poder), and add the ending for nosotros/as, -emos, to come up with podremos:

 

Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente.

With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

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An Alternative Use for the Future Tense

Although the translations for Spanish verbs conjugated in the Spanish future tense almost always involve the word "will," the future tense in Spanish can occasionally be used to express doubt or disbelief, and, in such cases, corresponds more closely with the English concepts of "would," "could," "might," or "may."  Such cases are typically quite clear from their contexts as inserting the word "will" would seem nonsensical. Let's take a look at a couple of examples: 

 

¿No tendrás unos pesitos para mí?

You wouldn't have a few pesos for me?

Caption 23, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 14

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Favio, ¿dónde estarás?

Favio, where could you be?

Caption 44, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7

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Having said that, in the vast majority of the cases you will come across, the future tense in Spanish can be translated with "will." 

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on the future tense in Spanish. If you are interested in verb tenses, we recommend you check out our lessons on all of the Spanish verb tenses, beginning with the indicative verb tenses in Spanish and moving on to the Spanish subjunctive tenses. And, for an even deeper look into the future tense in Spanish with a plethora of example sentences, we recommend you check out this extended lesson by Javi on the future tense in Spanish as well as this lesson on an alternative to the Spanish future tense

 

That's all for today! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments, and estaremos en contacto (we'll be in touch).

 

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The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit

What is the imperfect tense in Spanish? In contrast to the Spanish preterite, or simple past tense, which typically describes completed actions in the past, the imperfect tense in Spanish depicts past actions that were carried out regularly, over a longer period of time, or were in progress at a specified point. In addition to these uses of the imperfect tense in Spanish, there are other specific contexts in which it is necessary to use this tense, many of which we hope to illuminate for you today. 

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When Do You Use Imperfect Tense in Spanish? 

Let's take a look at some situations in which it is necessary to use the Spanish imperfect tense.

 

 

1. To Describe Habitual Actions in the Past

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish distinguishes actions that occurred on a habitual basis in the past from isolated incidents. Let's begin to understand this by examining how this idea might be expressed in English:

 

When I was young, I used to visit my grandparents every summer.

 

When I was young, I would visit my grandparents every summer.

 

When I was young, I visited my grandparents every summer. 

 

Interestingly, all of these English sentences could be translated to Spanish using the same sentence in the imperfect tense:  "Cuando yo era joven, visitaba a mis abuelos todos los veranos." This is because, despite their structural differences, they all mean the same thing: that the speaker would regularly visit his or her grandparents in the past. 

 

Armed with this idea that the imperfect tense in Spanish can encompass various English constructions, let's take a look at some additional examples of sentences with verbs in the imperfect tense:

 

Cuentan los cronistas que veían desfilar a las tropas bajando desde lo que era el Cuartel de San Telmo hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra, 

The chroniclers tell that they would see the troops parading, coming down from what used to be the San Telmo Barracks to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra" [Donostiarra Boulevard]

Captions 26-28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

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eh... -Sí. -... practicaba fútbol.

um... -Yes. -...I used to play soccer.

Caption 27, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 2

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In this second example, although an English speaker might say either, "Oh! I used to play soccer too!" or "Oh! I played soccer too!" to talk about something he or she did regularly at a previous juncture, the Spanish language would always employ the imperfect tense to distinguish this as a habitual action in the past. In contrast, if the speaker had just completed a game of soccer yesterday, he would instead use the preterite tense:

 

Ayer practiqué fútbol.

I played soccer yesterday. 

 

All that said, at the moment of constructing a sentence, in order to decide when to use the imperfect tense in Spanish, an English speaker must consider whether a past action took place just once or over an extended period, in which case it will be necessary to choose the imperfect tense. 

 

 

2. To Describe Incomplete or Interrupted Actions in the Past 

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish is also used to describe past actions that were incomplete or interrupted at the depicted moment. Let's take a look:

 

Vi que me acompañaba, mientras yo cantaba. -Sí.

I saw that you were accompanying me while I was singing. -Yes.

Caption 28, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7

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Notice that imperfect verbs that describe past actions in progress are most commonly (but again, not always) expressed in English in the past progressive tense, e.g., "You were accompanying," "I was singing," etc. The same can be said of interrupted past actions, where the action in progress is conjugated in the imperfect tense in Spanish, while the interrupting action is in the preterite tense:

 

OK, o sea que vos pensás que yo iba por la calle y de repente conocí a una chica y la llevé a una obra en construcción para seducirla.

OK, in other words, you think that I was going down the street and suddenly, I met a girl and took her to a construction site to seduce her.

Captions 22-23, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 2

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Me sentía perdido hasta que un día me llegó un email.

I was feeling lost until, one day, I got an email.

Caption 24, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 10

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Notably, although the Spanish past progressive tense can also be used to describe incomplete or interrupted actions in some cases (e.g. Yo cocinaba cuando mi marido llegó a casa and Yo estaba cocinando cuando mi marido llegó a casa both mean "I was cooking when my husband got home"), in our examples above, the imperfect tense in Spanish would be the more likely choice. 

 

3. To Describe Conditions and Characteristics

 

Since they tend to be ongoing, rather than having a definite beginning or end, the imperfect tense in Spanish is additionally used to describe physical and other characteristics of people or things in the past.

 

Tenía una barba blanca que le llegaba hasta la cintura y una larga cabellera. Tenía además una corona dorada y vestía un manto blanco.

He had a white beard that went down to his waist and long hair. He also had a golden crown and wore a white robe.

Captions 12-14, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

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Pero no era la... mi... la Connie, mi esposa, sino era la otra, la rubia, que era muy bonita de ojos azules. 

But it wasn't the... my... Connie, my wife, but rather it was the other one, the blonde, who was very pretty with blue eyes.

Captions 29-30, Gonzalo el Pintor Vida - Part 1

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In this second example, it is notable that, even though the third person singular form of the verb ser (to be) in its preterite form (fue) can also be translated as "was" in some cases, the imperfect tense in Spanish is the correct manner of talking about traits in the past. The imperfect is also the preferred tense for describing past states of being, as in the following example:
 

Tenía su pata rota. Esta pata de aquí, la tenía rota.

His leg was broken. This leg here, it was broken.

Captions 17-18, Amaya La historia de Lukas

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This descriptive nature of the imperfect tense in Spanish makes it ideal for explaining "how things were," or "setting the scene" in literature, which is the focus of this additional Yabla lesson on the imperfect tense. 
 

4. To Talk About Age

 
Since age can also be thought of as characteristic rather than something that "occurs" in a given moment, the imperfect tense in Spanish is used to talk about it in past tense: 
 

Desde cuando tenía doce años, más o menos. 

Since I was twelve years old, more or less.

Caption 13, Encuentro Volkswagen en Adícora Escarabajos en la playa - Part 2

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4. To Talk About Dates and Time

 

Additionally, since "setting the scene" might entail recounting what day or time it "was," dates and times must be described in the Spanish imperfect tense:

 

Eran las cinco de la tarde.

It was five o'clock in the evening. 

 

ya que recuerdo que hacía un calor terrible, aunque todavía era el mes de junio

as I remember that it was terribly hot, despite the fact that it was still the month of June,

Captions 38-39, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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5. To Talk About Feelings

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish is also utilized to speak about emotions in the past:

 

Un poquito y ajá, y estaba triste porque dejaba mi familia y eso y ya.

A little bit, and uh-huh, and I was sad because I was leaving my family and all that and that's it.

Caption 70, Cleer Entrevista a Lila

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Todos en la casa estaban muy emocionados

Everyone in the house was very excited,

Caption 17, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 1

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The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: Final Thoughts 

So... when do you use the imperfect tense in Spanish? We hope that this lesson has made it more clear that, in contrast to the Spanish preterite tense, the Spanish imperfect is reserved for past events that "kept on going" for an extended period. For more examples of imperfect tense in Spanish, we recommend Carlos' video on this topic, where he explores not only when to use imperfect tense in Spanish, but also how to conjugate its regular and some of its most common irregular forms.

 

That's all for today, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

 

 

 

 

Verb tenses

Andar bien

The verb andar usually conveys meanings related to movement. Depending on the context, it can mean "to walk," "to work," or even "to ride." However, the verb andar is also used to talk about actions that are more often expressed with the verb estar (to be). Let's see how all this works.

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First, andar means "to walk":
 

Si tienes unas piernas fuertes y ganas de andar, te lo recomiendo mucho.

If you have some strong legs and feel like walking, I highly recommend it to you.

Captions 102-103, Blanca - Cómo moverse en Barcelona

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It can also be used to express movement, in which case it's better translated as "to go" or even "to ride":
 

Y por dondequiera que ando, tu recuerdo va conmigo.

And wherever I go, your memory goes with me.

Captions 16-17, El Ausente - Acto 1

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Yo ando en bici y tú andas en motocicleta.
ride a bike and you ride a motorcycle.

When you use it to refer to the functioning of a machine or any sort of gadget, andar means "to work":

La lavadora no anda. | El carro anda bien. | La bicicleta no anda.
The washing machine doesn't work. | The car works well. | The bicycle doesn't work.

Spanish speakers also use the verb andar instead of the verb estar (to be). For example:
 

Me ha gustado, pues, el arte del circo, entonces por eso ando aquí.

I have liked, well, the circus arts, so that's why I'm here.

Caption 4, Circo Infantil de Nicaragua - Learning the Trade

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¿Dónde anduviste hoy?

Where have you been today?

Caption 9, Yago - 1 La llegada

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(Notice andar conjugates as tener (to have). Don't say "andé"!)

It can be used to express the state of being of a person, or an affair:
 

Tío, ¿qué pasa, hombre, cómo andas?

Pal, what's up, guy? How are you?

Caption 65, Animales en familia - La operación de Yaki

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Es que, bueno, las cosas, bueno... no andan bien.

The thing is that, well, things, well... are not going well.

Caption 21, Muñeca Brava - 8 Trampas

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Ando cansado. | Ella anda un poco triste últimamente.
I am tired. / I am feeling tired. | She has been a bit sad lately.

It is common to use andar for a state of being you have been feeling for some time and to use it with adverbs such as “lately” or “these days.”

Andar can replace estar when used as an auxiliary verb too:
 

Ando buscando un dormitorio más. (could also be: Estoy buscando un dormitorio más)

I'm looking for one more bedroom.

Caption 18, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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To say estar buscando and andar buscando is really the same. You hear Spanish speakers using them interchangeably all the time. If anything, using andar just adds a sense of vagueness or indetermination to the action. That's why it's commonly used to make estimations, for example:
 

Y ahora andarán sobre los, eh... tres mil ochocientos, cuatro mil.

And now they would be about, um... three thousand eight hundred, four thousand.

Captions 46-47, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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Here is another example:
 

¿Cómo explicarte lo que ando pensando(could also be estoy pensando)

How to explain to you what I'm thinking?

Caption 2, Los Tetas - Como Quisiera Decirte

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So, while estoy pensando means "I'm thinking (right now)," ando pensando means "I'm thinking (right now but also maybe before that)." Again, in this context, both verbs mean exactly the same. 

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The Big Spanish Fuss

Everyone likes to make a big fuss every now and then. Let's learn how to do it in Spanish!
 
In the telenovela Yago, Morena uses alboroto to refer to the atmosphere at the office after some thieves broke in:
 

Y parece que se ha armado todo un alboroto. -¿Eh?

And it seems it kicked up a big fuss. -Huh?

Caption 48, Yago - 5 La ciudad - Part 7

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To describe Mexico City’s downtown, our friend David prefers to use the words relajo and desmadre to refer to “mess” and “chaos,” respectively: 
 

Donde realmente se aconglomera todo el relajo y todo el... el desmadre, ¿no?

Where all the mess comes together... and all the... the chaos, right?

Captions 41-42, Amigos D.F. - Clima en el DF

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In Argentina and other countries, the words despelote (chaos/fuss/trouble) and quilombo (mess) are also used. Aldo, Yago’s evil uncle, gives us an example of despelote:

 

¿Cómo está la familia? Bien. -Seguro que estuviste haciendo despelotes vos.

How is the family? Fine. -Surely you were causing trouble.

Captions 2-3, Yago - 1 La llegada - Part 7

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and Ramón, certainly not the most honest forest ranger in town, uses quilombo:
 

Con todo el quilombo que tuve ¿qué querés? Se me escapó.

With all the mess that I had, what do you expect? It came out.

Captions 18-19, Yago - 4 El secreto - Part 2

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In Muñeca Brava, the perverse Damián Rapallo dismissively applies the word lío (fuss) to describe his brother-in-law reaction when he finds him assaulting Milagros:
 

Aquí estoy yo, no te va a pasar... -Tanto lío por una mucamita.

Here I am, [nothing] is going to happen to you... -So much fuss over a little housemaid.

Caption 39, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro - Part 10

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Now, if you have a taste for more exotic words, we suggest you learn them from the masters, Puerto Rican band Calle 13, who give us three colorful expressions: bullanga (ruckus), burundanga (mess/disarray) and jolgorio (revelry):

 

Que por ahí viene la ganga con una bullanga a llenarse los ojos con tu burundanga.

From somewhere the gang is coming with a commotion to fill up their eyes with your disarray [mix-up, mess].

Captions 48-49, Calle 13 - Cumbia de los Aburridos

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Se formó el jolgorio en el purgatorio

Revelry went on in purgatory

Caption 58, Calle 13 - Tango del pecado

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Notice that most of these words (alboroto, relajo, desmadre, lío, quilombo, and despelote) have a negative connotation. Bullanga and burundanga could be used either way, but are most commonly used as positive expressions.

 

 

Vocabulary

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