The Near Future Tense in Spanish


The near future tense, also known as the immediate future or ‘ir + a + infinitive’, is used to describe actions which are going to happen. It’s used in a very similar way to how we use the construction ‘going to + infinitive’ in English to talk about future actions/plans.

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Want to tell people what you’re “going to do” this weekend, “going to eat” this afternoon, “going to watch” on tv tonight? In Spanish, this is what we call the simple future. In order to form this verb tense, we need to get familiar with the verb IR. This verb (like the verb SER we’ve learned) is what we call an irregular verb in Spanish in that it does not follow the traditional conjugation rules that we will learn in our upcoming lesson about -AR verbs. Let’s check out its conjugation below: 

IR = To go

Yo voy = I goNosotros(as) vamos = We go
Tú vas = You (informal) goVosotros(as) vais = You all go
Él va = He goes Ella va = She goes Usted va = You (formal) goEllos van = They go Ellas van = They go Ustedes van = Y’all go
FUN FACT! When using the yo, TÚ, nosotros(as) and vosotros(as) forms, you can eliminate the subject pronoun from the sentence if you want! For example: (yo) voy a cocinar. 

Now that we know how to use the verb IR, we’re going to add another layer in order to create the simple future tense. This simple future tense has three components:

Do you recall from our previous SER module that an infinitive is the unchanged form of the verb? That means we do not have to conjugate that verb at all. For example: voy a comer. See how comer has been left alone?

Let’s look at a few examples:

Yo voy a bailar. I am going to dance.

¿Tú vas a salir? Are you going to leave?

Él va a corer. He is going to run.

Nosotros vamos a celebrar. We are going to celebrate.

Vosotros vais a trabajar. You all are going to work.

Ellas van a hablar. They are going to talk. 

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Specific Capabilities at this Level

I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.