Spanish Language Blog

The future… the future? Posted by on Aug 18, 2008 in Spanish Grammar

Let’s talk a bit about the future in Spanish. There are two basic forms: the first one is a specific verb conjugation called the simple future (futuro simple). For example, the verb estar (estaré, estarás, estará, estaremos, estaréis, estarán) in the simple future tense is equivalent in English to the form “will” (I will be, you will be, etc.).

The second type of future is made up of the phrase ir a (where the verb ir is conjugated) and the main verb in infinitive: voy a estar, vas a ir, etc. This form is equivalent to the English “to be going to” (I’m going to be, you’re going to go, etc.

The future can also be used as a command. When we were kids our mothers would say: “You will wash your hands before eating!” with a strong emphasis on the “will”. In this sentence will is being used not only to express the future, but also as a clear order. The same structure occurs in Spanish: ¡Te lavarás las manos antes de comer!

In addition, the conjugated future form in Spanish can also express probability or likelihood. Take a look at these examples:

  • María todavía no ha llegado. Estará en el trabajo. (María hasn’t arrived yet. She must be at work.)
  • ¿Qué hora es? Serán las dos. (What time is it? It must be two o’clock.)
  • Pedro ha trabajado mucho. Estará cansado. (Pedro has worked a lot. He must be tired.)
  • Estoy confundido. ¿Me amará María? (I’m confused. I wonder if María loves me.)

There is also a quaint idiomatic expression that uses ser in the future tense to emphatically express a person’s negative attributes.

  • ¡Serás maleducado! (You’re so rude!)
  • ¡Será cabrón! (He’s such a jerk!)

See you next time!

Tags: ,
Keep learning Spanish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. Frank Adey:

    Hi, say you have a house in England and a house in Spain, and you are English nationality.

    How long can you spend in say Spain? I have been told not more than 6 months if you are British citizen, but if after five months, you say visit Italy for a while and then go back to Spain. Can you only have one more month in Spain, or does the count of six months start again as you re-enter Spain…so in effect by traveling all over Europe, and going back a house in Spain, can you spend more time than the six months in Spain? Does my passport allow us to spend an unlimited time traveling abroad.

    Thank you, I look forward to this advice

  2. david carmona:

    If you have a British passport, you can travel, live, and work without any limitation in any country that is part of the EU for as long as you want. In fact, you don’t even need a passport to move inside the EU. Well, since the UK doesn’t have ID cards, you would need your passport, but there are no visa requirements or time limits.

  3. Frank Adey:

    Thank you David for your reply , it is most helpfull.
    I think that the restriction on travel I was thinking about was because of a Bristish registered Car. Is there any time limit on that (except I know I will have to be back within a year to re-tax and MOT in Britain).
    So the 6 months I mentioned, did that apply to a British car abroad? or as long as the tax etc. are up to date, can I travel without time limit!

  4. david carmona:

    Well, I don’t know what you’re planning on doing for residency. If you spend more than six months within the same year in Spain, you must register as a resident. In that case, you would have to start proceedings to register your car in Spain. If you drive in Spain for less than six months within the same year, you don’t have to do anything (except always carrying a copy of your driver’s license, insurance, UK tax, and MOT). A Spanish translation wouldn’t hurt, considering our Guardia Civil can be quite a misnomer when it comes to their courteusness. The tricky part is, if your passport is not stamped, you can’t prove when you entered the country, and the same thing applies when you move back from travelling to a different country in the EU. This blurrs the “six month rule” limit considerably. Going back to your original message, technically, you would only have one month left. My advice would be to register as a resident in Spain if you’re plannning on staying there for over half a year at a time. The Inland Revenue would tell you the same thing, as far as tax is concerned, but I don’t know exactly what your situation is.

  5. Frank Adey:

    Thanks again David, I am a little confused, as your first reply said …
    If you have a British passport, you can travel, live, and work without any limitation in any country that is part of the EU for as long as you want.
    And your latest reply, said…
    If you spend more than six months within the same year in Spain, you must register as a resident.

    My situation is that I have a house in both countries, but am resident in England. If I apply for resident in Spain (can you have DUAL residency)?… or are you suggesting that I should register for residency in each country each time I go over that six months…I am not quite sure how you mean this?
    If you can give a little more info on this time subject it will clarify?

  6. david carmona:

    Sure, I’ll try to explain it a bit better. As an EU citizen, you are free to do all those things in any country within the EU. However, for obvious reasons, there are certain things you must do if you spend more time in a different country. Residency determines where you live for tax purposes (national and local), voting rights, and health care. The Inland Revenue would probably be more lenient, since I think they allow you to spend a minimum of 91 days in the UK in order to still consider you a UK resident for tax purposes. Spain, however, will consider you a resident if you live there for over 183 days or work there. That’s why I suggested changing your residency, but it depends on your job situation. In the case of cars, it is more complicated. The 6 month rule determines which country will be taxing your vehicle and where you should get it insured. This last bit is very important, since your UK car insurance might be invalidated if you spend over a certain amount of time abroad. Check with your provider. If you are going to spend roughly the same amount of time in both countries, you can choose not to change your residency (nobody will check up on that), but eventually you might have a minor traffic accident and find yourself in hot water with an insurance company or a police officer. That’s red tape for you! By the way, whereabouts in Spain?