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Future Tense of Italian Verbs

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The future tense of verbs in Italian is formed by adding one of six future tense endings to a stem which is formed from the infinitive form of the verb.

Fortunately, the majority of Italian verbs are regular in the future tense. That is, the future stem of most verbs is formed according to whether their infinitive ends in ARE, ERE or IRE, and the pattern is the same for all regular verbs.

Most Italian verbs end in ARE, and this is the trickiest group of regular verbs to put into the future tense. The future stem of ARE verbs is formed by changing the ARE ending to ER. For example, parlare means to speak, and the future tense stem is thus parler-. Cantare, to speak, has the future stem canter-. Remember that these are only stems to which the future ending must be added.

One thing to be mindful of with those verbs ending with CARE and GARE is that these verbs have the hard sound of c and g, which must be retained. Therefore, to keep the sound hard, the ARE is removed and an H is added before the ER. For example, giocare meaning to play, has the hard c sound, and therefore requires an additional h. The future tense stem is therefore giocher-. In a similar way, pagare, meaning to pay, has the future stem pagher-.

It is very easy to form the future tense stem of regular verbs ending in ERE are IRE. The final E is removed. For example, rispondere means to respond or answer, and the future stem is responder-. And the verb capire, meaning to sleep, has capir- as its future stem.

Once the stem is formed, a set of six future tense endings must be added to the stem to form the future tense. These endings agree with the subject of the verb. Subject pronouns with their corresponding future tense verb endings are as follows:

Io (I) takes the future ending -o (with a grave accent).

Tu (you, singular informal) takes the ending -ai .

Lui (he) and lei (you, singular formal, and she) takes the ending -a (with a grave accent).

Noi (we) has the future ending -emo.

Voi (you, plural) has the ending -ete.

Loro (they) takes the future ending -anno.

Subject pronouns are often omitted in Italian, since the ending of the verb usually makes the pronoun clear. However, pronouns may be used for emphasis or clarity. This article will retain subject pronouns for the sake of clarity.

Here are three example of a regular verb conjugated in the future tense, one for each verb type:

Parlare (to speak) becomes Io parlero (I will speak); Tu parlerai (You will speak); Lui, lei parlera (He, she, you will speak); Noi parleremo (We will speak); Voi parlerete (You will speak, plural); Loro parleranno (They will speak).

Leggere (to read) becomes Io leggero (I will read); Tu leggerai (You will read); Lui, lei leggera (He, she, you will read); Noi leggeremo (We will read); Voi leggerete (You will read, plural); Loro leggeranno (They will read).

Dormire (to sleep) becomes Io dormiro (I will sleep); Tu dormirai (You will sleep); Lui, lei dormira (He, she, you will sleep); Noi dormiremo (We will sleep); Voi dormirete (You will sleep, plural); Loro dormiranno (They will sleep).

In addition to regular verbs outlined above, a small number of verbs have irregular stems in the future tense. Here are some common verbs which are irregular in the future tense along with their stems: Andare (to go) has the stem andr- ; Avere (to have) has the stem avr- ; Bere (to drink) has the stem berr- ; Dare (to give) has the stem dar- ; Dovere (to have to, must) has the stem dovr- ; Essere (to be) has the stem sar- ; Fare (to do or make) has the stem far- ; Potere (to be able or can) has the stem potr- ; Sapere (to know) has the stem sapr- ; Vedere (to see) has the stem vedr- ; Venire (to come) has the stem verr- ; Volere (to want) has the stem vorr-.

These irregular stems take the same future endings as the regular verbs. For example, andare (to go) is conjugated as follows in the future tense: Io andro (I will go); Tu andrai (You will go); Lui, lei andra (He, she, you will go); Noi andremo (We will go); Voi andrete (You will go, plural); Loro andranno (They will go).

Remember that, for all of these future tense verbs, regular and irregular, the final vowel on the io and lui/lei endings is written with a grave accent, and pronounced with extra stress on the final letter.

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