Verb forms in the future tense

German has two different ways of referring to future events (compare to English: „will-future“ and „goingt-to-future“) and does not have a progressive form of the
future tense.

Verb formation in the future tense

In German, verbs in the future tense are formed different compared to English.

  • To use the present tense
  • To use a form of „werden“ + infinitive

Verb formation in the future tense by using the present tense

The present tense is used when the context makes it clear that you are referring to a future event. So there must be an information in the sentence which
suggest the future.The following words give indications of a time in the future and is an evident that you are not speaking about the present so that you can use the present tense referring to a future event:

German
English
bald
soon
in
in (time)
morgen
tomorrow
nächster, nächstes
next (time)
später
later

Verb formation in the future tense by using a form of „werden“ + infinitive

This future tense is used, when making a prediction, or indicating probability. This future form is similar in English. English uses „will“ + the infinitive of the main verb and German uses aform of „werden“ + the infinitive of the main verb.

Choose the right form of „werden“

Person
werden
ich („I“)
werde
du („you“, informal use)
wirst
er, sie, es („he/she/it)
wird
wir („we“)
werden
ihr („you“, informal use)
werdet
sie („they“)
werden

Word order:

  • Using the present tense: The correct form of the verb takes the second position in a sentence.
  • Using a form of „werden“ + infinitive: The correct form of „werden“ takes the second position in a sentence, while the infinitve of the main verb goes to the end of the sentence.

Example:
English I will meet you tonight.
German: Ich werde dich heute abend treffen.
Form: Ich -> habe

But also:

English I will meet you tonight.
German: Ich treffe dich heute abend.
The word „heute abend“ gives an indication of a time in the future and is an evident that you are not speaking about the present so that you can use the present tense referring to a future event.


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Aufgaben & Tests:
Verb forms in the future tense