The Future in German (Futur I and Futur II)

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The Future in German (Futur I and Futur II)

Futur I

Use of Futur I

Futur I in German is the same as the simple future in English, having 4 functions:
  • Expressing a future event

Es wird regnen It will rain

  • Expressing an intention
In many cases when Futur I is used with the first person (ich, wir), it reflects the intention of carrying out some action.

Ich werde morgen fliegen I will fly tomorrow

If we are sure that the action will be carried out, it is more correct to use the Präsens.

Er fliegt morgen He’s flying tomorrow

  • Giving an order (equivalent of the imperative)

Du wirst jetzt die Hausaufgaben machen You will do your chores now

  • Expressing an assumption about a present fact

Sie wird müde sein She is probably tired

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Conjugation of “Futur I”

The conjugation is very simple: Verb “werden” in the present + verb infinitive.

Verb werden in Präsens

Conjugation Meaning
ich werde arbeiten I will work
du wirst arbeiten you will work
er/sie/es wird arbeiten he will work
wir werden arbeiten we will work
ihr werdet arbeiten you will work (speaking to a group)
sie werden arbeiten they will work


Sie wird ein Auto kaufen She will buy a car

Wir werden unsterblich sein We will be immortal

The basic future tense in German is the Futur I; it’s formed with the present tense of the verbwerden  and the infinitive of the main verb. We do the same thing in English with will: Ich werde dort ein Hotel suchen. I will look for a hotel there. Ich werde das Geschirr spülen. I will do the dishes. [literally, spülen is more like “rinse”] To form the Futur II (future perfect), use werden + past participle + haben/sein. Again it’s similar in English: will have. The only difference is that, as always in German, the non-conjugated verbs move to the end of the clause: Wenn ihr ankommt werde ich ein Hotel gefunden haben. By the time you arrive, I will have found a hotel. Bis heute Abend werde ich das Geschirr gespült haben. By this evening, I will have done the dishes. In English we also have the more casual form “I’m going to…” to replace “I will…” This form does not exist in German, so don’t try to translate it literally: Ich gehe zu [verb] would not make sense. Just use werden instead.* The futuristic present (Futuristiches Präsens) refers to a tendency in both languages to use the present tense for future events. In English we do this in two main situations: when we have arranged to do something in the near future (“I’m going to the movies tomorrow”) and when referring to an action that will take place according to a fixed (usually printed) schedule or timetable (“The train leaves in half an hour”). German also uses the present tense for these situations: Meine Freundin besucht mich nächstes Wochenende. My girlfriend visits [is visiting] me next weekend. Der Zug fährt in 10 Minuten ab. The train departs in ten minutes. (Note that we often use the progressive aspect in these situations — “is visiting” — which doesn’t exist in German.) There are a few situations where German uses the futuristic present and English does not. The most important is an offer or promise to do something:
German (Präsens): Literal English (present): Correct English (future): Ich zahle es dir morgen zurück. I pay you back tomorrow. I’ll pay you back tomorrow. Ich hole dir eine Jacke. I get you a jacket. I’ll get you a jacket.
There’s another case where use of the present is optional: predictions or speculation. In the case of speculation, we usually use may/might/maybe in English, and German uses vielleicht(perhaps):
German (Präsens): German (Futur I): English (future): Morgen regnet es. Morgen wird es regnen. Tomorrow it will rain. Vielleicht gehe ich nächste Woche. Vielleicht werde ich nächste Woche gehen. I may go [Maybe I’ll go] next week.
*(To be more specific: the verb phrase “going to” in English usually means that a future event is already planned or expected (“I’m going to do my homework later”) rather than the announcement of a decision (“I’ll do my homework later”). In German, “going to” will often have werden, or possibly schon or noch. Ich werde meine Hausaufgaben später machen; Ich mache meine Hausaufgaben schon/noch. But an announcement is in the futuristic present: Ich mache mein Hausaufgaben später.)

 German Grammar – The Tenses

The Future Tense 2

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The future tense 2 is an infrequently used tense in German grammar. It is also not the simplest part of German grammar to form because you basically have to combine two grammatical time periods with each other. Sounds pretty complicated doesn’t it? That’s why I want to explain it to you in a simple, step-by-step manner. If you can grasp the principles and rules at the start, it won’t be so difficult when you come to use it. Finally, I will explain to you how and in which situations the future tense 2 is used. But first let’s talk about the formation of the tense:

Futur II

Use of Futur II

Futur II is the equivalent of the future perfect in English. It has 2 functions:
  • To express an event that will take place in the future

Er wird morgen angekommen sein He will have arrived tomorrow

  • To express an assumption from the past

Er wird schon angekommen sein He probably arrived already

Conjugation of “Futur II”

The conjugation: Verb “werden” in the present + Partizip II of the verb + “sein” or “haben”.


Er wird es bald geschafft haben He will have finished soon

Er wird wohl im Urlaub gewesen sein He probably is on vacation

Er wird sicher fertig gegessen haben He must have eaten already

The Formation of the Future Tense 2 (The future perfect)

In a moment we’ll reshape the example sentence „Ich baue ein Haus“ (I am building a house). As I already said, to do this we have to combine two different tenses with each other. In order to understand this a little bit better it’s perhaps wise to mention that in German the future tense 2 is also known as „vollendete Zukunft“. The word „vollendet“ suggests to us that a past tense form is somehow incorporated: specifically here, the past perfect. Our first step here is to put our example sentence into the past perfect. From there we will put it into the future tense 2. But first, here’s the example sentence in the perfect tense:
learn German perfect tense
In the diagram above you can see that the conjugated verb in the second position moves to the end of the sentence and is put into its past participle form (bauen=> gebaut). In the second position in the sentence you then put the auxiliary verb “haben” in its conjugated form (in this case “habe”). I have covered exactly how the perfect tense works in German in the corresponding site about the perfect tense. So after this first stage of putting the sentence into the perfect tense our example sentence looks like this:
Ich habe ein Haus gebaut. (I have built a house.)
The second step is to form the future tense using our perfect tense sentence. This sounds weird doesn’t it? This is how the simple rule goes:
german tenses future tense 2
And so below, you can see how this is done:
learn German tenses future 2
You have to make sure that the grammatically changed verb is in position 2 in the sentence. If the sentence is in the perfect tense, we have an auxiliary verb in position 2. In the example above we have the auxiliary verb “haben”. And this is exactly what we must do to reshape the sentence to be in the future tense. I have already explained the Rules for this in great detail. Just to remind ourselves: The conjugated verb in position 2 takes the infinitive form and is moved to the end of the sentence. In the newly empty position 2 you then put the conjugated form of the auxiliary verb “warden”. And we’re finished already! Here’s a realistic way that you might use our sentence: „Ich bin sicher: Im Alter von 40 Jahren werde ich ein Haus gebaut haben.“ (I am sure that at the age of 40 I will have built a house).


Because the future tense 2 is always formed using the perfect tense, you must make sure that you remember that not all verbs take the auxiliary verb “haben” in the perfect tense and that some use the verb “sein”. You can read about the verbs that use “sein” . The verb “reisen” (to travel) is an example of a verb that uses the auxiliary verb “sein”. With this information we can form the following sentence in the future tense 2: „Im Alter von 60 Jahren werde ich einmal um die Welt gereist sein!“ (By the time I’m 60 I will have travelled once around the world!) As you can see, the infinitive form of “haben” is not at the end of the sentence. Instead you have the infinitive form of “sein” because in the perfect tense “reisen” takes the auxiliary verb “sein”.(Read Present Perfect Tense for more info)

Usage of the Future Tense 2

The way that we use the future tense 2 is very similar to how we use the future tense 1, in that we use sentences like the examples above very infrequently. We would use sentences like the examples above when talking about our visions for the future or when we are predicting something. They often sound a bit dramatic:
  • In zwei Jahren werde ich endlich meine Ausbildung beendet haben! (In two years I will finally have finished my training!)
  • Wenn ich einmal in Pension gehe, werde ich gut vorgesorgt haben. (When I take my pension, I will have taken good precautions.)
It is much more likely that you will use the future 2 in combination with a negation such as “nicht, nichts or kein”. Namely, when we want to express a hope or a suggestion about something that has already happened. Here are some examples:
  • Er ist nun schon seit zwei Stunden weg, ich mache mir Sorgen! Ach was, es wird schon nichts passiert sein! (He has been away for two hours now. I’m worried! Ahh, nothing will have happened.)
  • Sie hatte heute Führerscheinprüfung und hat sich noch nicht gemeldet! Sie wird doch nicht durchgefallen sein! (She had her driving test today and has not reported back! She will not have failed though!)
  • Der kleine Junge ist heute so schüchtern. Er wird doch nichts Schlimmes angestellt haben! (The small boy is so shy today. He will not have done anything bad though!)
These three example sentences are very realistic. When we are worried that something might have happened, the future tense 2 provides us with the perfect way to express ourselves.
The future perfect expresses the assumption that an action will have been completed by the time of speaking, or by a particular point in the future.
  • Warum baut Matthias sein Fahrrad auseinander?
  • Er wird wohl gestürzt sein oder eine Panne gehabt haben.
  • Oh nein, wir wollen in einer Stunde eine Radtour machen.
  • Keine Angst! Bis dahin wird er das Fahrrad repariert haben.


  • Assumption about an action in the past
    Er wird wohl gestürzt sein.
    Er wird eine Panne gehabt haben.
  • Assumption that an action will have been completed by a certain point in the future (you always need an indication of the specific time here, so you know you’re talking about the future)
    Bis dahin wird er das Fahrrad repariert haben.

To Note:

We often strengthen assumptions by using words such as: wohl, sicher, bestimmt.
Er wird wohl gestürzt sein. Er wird wohl eine Panne gehabt haben.


We need the finite form of werden, the past participle of the full verb, and the auxiliary verbs sein/haben
person form of “werden” full verb + sein/haben
1st person singular (ich) ich werde gegangen sein aufgewacht sein gelesen haben gedacht haben
2nd person singular (du) du wirst
3rd person singular (er/sie/es/man) er wird
1st person plural (wir) wir werden
2nd person plural (ihr) ihr werdet
3rd person plural/polite form (sie/Sie) sie werden

Past Participle

weak/mixed verbs strong verbs
ge…t ge…en
gelernt gesehen

Exceptions in the Construction

  • Many strong and mixed verbs change their stem in the past participle.
    gehen – gegangen, bringen – gebracht
  • If the word stem ends in d/t, we add an et to weak and mixed verbs.
    warten – gewartet
  • Verbs that end in ieren form the past participle without ge.
    studieren – studiert
  • Inseparable verbs form the past participle without ge.
    verstehen – verstanden
  • With separable verbs, ge goes after the prefix.
    ankommen – angekommen

German tenses in use: Futur II

The Futur II is used on different occasions.
a) You use Futur II to refer to actions that will take place in the future and that will have been completed in the future. You form sentences with the conjugated form of the auxiliary verb werden(will), the past form of the verb, and the unconjugated form the auxiliary haben (to have) or sein (to be).
Singular Plural
1st person ich werde(I will) wir werden(we will)
2ndperson du wirst / Sie werden(you will) ihr werdet / Sie werden(you will)
3rdperson er/sie/es wird(he/she/it will) Sie werden(they will)
1) Morgen werde ich schon mit ihm gesprochen haben. (I will have talked with him by tomorrow.) 2. Bald wird sie es geschafft haben. (Soon, she will have made it.) 3) Heute in einem Jahr werden wir schon unseren Urlaub in Australien verbracht haben. (A year from today we will already have had our vacation in Australia.) 4) In zwei Wochen werden wir die Prüfungen geschrieben haben. (In two weeks we will have written the tests.) b) You can use the Futur II in order to express the assumption that an action of the past has been completed. In such statements, the past has to be stressed by using adverbs that refer to the past, like: gestern (yesterday), vor zwei Wochen (two weeks ago), vergangenes Jahr (last year), etc. 5) Sie wird gestern in München angekommen sein. [Wahrscheinlich ist sie gestern in München angekommen.] (She will have arrived in Munich yesterday.) [Probably she arrived in Munich yesterday.] 6) Er wird ihr das Geschenk vor einer Woche gegeben haben. [Wahrscheinlich hat er ihr das Geschenk vor einer Woche gegeben.] (He will have given her the present a week ago.) [Probably he has given her the present a week ago.] c) The Futur II can also be replaced by the Perfekt, when the future is displayed with adverbs of time, for example, morgen (tomorrow), bald (soon), nachher (later), etc. 7) Morgen um diese Zeit werden wir in Köln angekommen sein. (At this time tomorrow we will have arrived in Cologne.) 8) Bald werden wir es geschafft haben. (Soon we will have made it.) 9) In einer Stunde werden wir unser Ziel erreicht haben. (In one hour we will have reached our aim.)

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