Easy Ways to Talk about the Future in Spanish

Shortcuts-to-talk-about-the-future-in-Spanish4

It was almost lunch time, when Umir came to my desk and asked me this: “How do I say: “I am going to the bathroom?”

bathroom-at-the-office-v-3.3“Why do you want to know that?” I asked.

He replied: “Because I was on my way to the bathroom, I got curious and I started thinking:  “How would I say this in Spanish?”

He continued by saying: “I already know a little about the present tense. But, how do I talk about the future in Spanish?”

I explained that an easy way to say “I am going to the bathroom” in Spanish is: “Voy a ir al baño”, and then continued to share a few basic tools to talk about the future in Spanish during lunch.

Today, we will review a few of the tools I shared with him that day, as well as a few additional ones that have been very useful for my students over the years.

In this article, we will review a few conversational shortcuts that will be useful for beginners who want to talk about the future in Spanish.

Although these shortcuts are not 100% strictly perfect in terms of traditional grammar, they are simple and effective language tools beginners can use to talk about the future quickly while avoiding the unnecessary complexity that overwhelms and discourages many students.

We will review a few grammar related terms, but I assure you it is not the usual “grammar intensive” approach. Bear with me and take a look at the examples so you can see how easy it is.

If you are just getting started, focus on learning these shortcuts for the first person of singular. Like this, you will learn to express yourself quickly and you will build on that momentum later on.

 

Shortcut 1 for talking about the future:

“I am going to + infinitive”

Here is an easy way to talk about the future near future beginners can use to avoid conjugating all verbs in the future tense. By the way, this is used by native speakers everyday when they talk about their plans.

Here are a few examples:

I am going to walk – Yo voy a caminar

I am going to think – Yo voy a pensar

I am going to travel to France – Yo voy a viajar a Francia

 

The shortcut´s structure is:

A personal pronoun + “ir” (to go) conjugated in the present tense + “a” + a verb in infinitive

Let’s take a moment to review the conjugation of “ir” in the present tense:

I go – Yo voy

You go – Tú vas

He / She goes – Él / Ella va

We go – Nosotros vamos

You go – Ustedes van

They go – Ellos van

 

Here are a few additional examples:

I am going to run – Yo voy a correr

I am going to cook dinner – Yo voy a cocinar la cena

I am going to talk to Luisa at school – Yo voy a hablar con Luisa en la escuela

 

 

Shortcut 2 for talking about the future:

“I want to + verb in infinitive + a time in the future”

The second is a simple ways to talk about the future beginners can use. The shortcut´s structure is:

A personal pronoun + “querer” (to want) conjugated in the present tense + a verb in infinitive + a time in the future

 

Here are a few examples:

I want to sleep at night – Yo quiero dormir en la noche

I want to eat pizza tomorrow – Yo quiero comer pizza mañana

I want to talk to her in one hour – Yo quiero hablar con ella en una hora

 

Let’s take a moment to review the conjugation of “querer” in the present tense:

I want – Yo quiero

You want – Tú quieres

He / She wants – Él / Ella quiere

We want – Nosotros queremos

You want – Ustedes quieren

They want – Ellos quieren

 

 Now, let´s look at a few more examples:

I want to buy a new computer tonight – Yo quiero comprar una computadora nueva esta noche

I want to find a new job next week – Yo quiero encontrar un trabajo nuevo en la próxima semana

I want to solve this problem before tomorrow – Yo quiero solucionar este problema antes de mañana

 

 

Shortcut 3 for talking about the future:

“I need to + infinitive + time in the future”

To talk about something that you need to do in the near future, you can use this shortcut to make things easier:

A Personal pronoun + “necesitar” (to need) conjugated in the present tense + a verb in infinitive + a time in the future

 

Let’s take a moment to review the conjugation of “necesitar” in the present tense:

I need – Yo necesito

You need – Tú necesitas

He / She needs – Él / Ella necesita

We need – Nosotros necesitamos

You need – Ustedes necesitan

They need – Ellos necesitan

 

Here are a few examples:

I need to find Alberto this week – Yo necesito encontrar a Alberto esta semana

I need to buy a car today – Yo necesito comprar un auto hoy

I need to eat something in 15 minutes – Yo necesito comer algo en 15 minutos

 

 

 Shortcut 4 for talking about the future:

“I have to + infinitive + time in the future”

If you want to talk about an obligation or something you need to do in the future, you may use the following shortcut as a simple tool to express your ideas.

 

 The shortcut´s structure is:

A personal pronoun + “tener” (to have) conjugated in the present tense + “que” + a verb in infinitive + a time in the future

 

 Let’s take a moment to review the conjugation of “tener” in the present tense:

I have – Yo tengo

You have – Tú tienes

He / She has – Él / Ella tiene

We have – Nosotros tenemos

You have – Ustedes tienen

They have – Ellos tienen

 

Here are a few examples:

I have to sleep well tonight – Yo tengo que dormir bien esta noche

I have to talk to you tomorrow – Yo tengo que hablar contigo mañana

I have to buy a pen in the morning – Yo tengo que comprar una pluma nueva en la mañana

 

 

Shortcut 5 for talking about the future:

“I am going to + infinitive + time in the future”

The fifth shortcut in this section is a simple and versatile linguistic tool beginners can use to talk about what they are going to do in the near future.

 

 The shortcut´s structure is:

A personal pronoun + “ir” (to go) conjugated in the present tense + “a” + a verb in infinitive + a time in the future

 

Let’s take a moment to review the conjugation of “ir” in the present tense:

I go – Yo voy

You go – Tú vas

He / She goes – Él / Ella va

We go – Nosotros vamos

You go – Ustedes van

They go – Ellos van

 

Here are a few examples:

I am going to run at night – Yo voy a correr en la noche

I am going to visit Rome next summer – Yo voy a visitar Roma el próximo verano

I am going to buy a phone next week – Yo voy a comprar un teléfono la próxima semana

 

As you continue learning Spanish you will realize that native speakers rarely use “yo” before a verb. That is because the conjugation of a verb implies who is performing the action. If you are just getting started, I suggest you use the pronouns (such as yo, tú, él) before verbs in order to practice and make it easier for others to understand what you are saying. As you become more confident and start feeling that the “yo” is getting in the way of your conversation, feel free to drop it. As with athletic training, listen to your body (in this case, your brain). Keep things simple in the beginning, learn the basics. Start by walking and then move on to running when you feel walking is not fun enough.

 

That´s all for today. Have you found this to be useful? If so, please share it in the comments and let me know if you have any questions (such as a specific phrase for your job you would like to learn).

See you in the comments. ¡Hasta la próxima! (See you next time.)

 

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