The simple future in Spanish is a verb form that refers to verbs in the future tense, simple, indicative mood, and active voice. Unlike regular Spanish verbs, the conjugations for irregular verbs in the simple future are irregular and unpredictable. However, only a handful of verbs in Spanish are irregular in the simple future with most following a pattern. And, to make learning the future tense easier for Spanish language students, all Spanish verbs take the same simple future suffixes. The following sections explain the formation of simple future of irregular Spanish verbs.
Irregular Future Stems
The first and largest category of irregular Spanish verbs in the simple future is the verbs whose stem takes a -dr in place of the infinitive suffix. To form the future stem of the –dr verbs, remove the infinitive ending and add a -dr to the end of the verb. (The only exception to this rule is poner “to put” in which the second d is omitted.) For example:
- anteponer “to put in front”: antepondr-
- componer “to compose”: compondr-
- contener “to contain”: contendr-
- detener “to stop”: detendr-
- disponer “to arrange”: dispondr-
- imponer “to impose”: impondr-
- mantener “to maintain”: mantendr-
- obtener “to obtain”: obtendr-
- poder “to be able to”: podr-*
- poner “to put”: pondr-
- proponer “to propose”: propondr-
- reponer “to replace”: repondr-
- retener “to retain”: retendr-
- salir “to leave”: saldr-
- suponer “to suppose”: supondr-
- tener “to have”: tendr-
- valer “to merit”: valdr-
- venir “to come”: vendr-
The second category of irregular Spanish verbs in the simple future is the verbs whose stem takes an -r in place of the infinitive suffix. To form the future stem of the –r verbs, remove the infinitive ending and add a -r to the end of the verb. For example:
- caber “to fit”: cabr-
- haber “to have”: habr-
- saber “to know”: sabr-
The third category of irregular Spanish verbs in the simple future is the verbs whose stems are simply irregular. The verbs in the third category must simply be memorized. For example:
- decir “to say”: dir-
- hacer “to do”: har-
- querer “to want”: querr-*
Notice that the irregular conditional stems in Spanish are identical to the irregular simple future stems in Spanish.
Orthographic Changing Future Stems
Three common Spanish verbs experience slight a slight spelling change in the simple future. For the verbs with orthographic changes, simply remove the accented vowel in the future tense. For example:
- oír “to hear”: oir-
- reír “to laugh”: reir-
- sonreír “to smile”: sonreir-
Note that, although the simple future forms of these three vowels is spelled without an accent mark, the accent is still on the same vowel because of the rules for Spanish pronunciation.
Irregular verbs are verbs whose conjugations include a pronunciation or spelling change in the stem of the verb in the simple future tense. Spanish language learners must learn to form the simple future forms of irregular Spanish verbs in order to fully use and understand verbs the Spanish language.
For the conjugations of regular Spanish verbs in the simple future, please refer to The Simple Future of Regular Spanish Verbs.
Note: I have studied Spanish as a foreign language. Please feel free to correct any mistakes that I have made in my Spanish.
Ramboz, Ina. 2008. Spanish verbs & essentials of grammar (Verbs and Essentials of Grammar Series), 2nd edn. New York: McGraw-Hill.