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Portuguese Future Tenses – Usage Rundown Anchored to English

In Portuguese, as in English, future tenses are normally used to refer to actions that haven’t yet taken place. 

In this post, I will walk you through Portuguese equivalents of several English future tenses (I will lay them out according to English grammar terminology). 

Let’s get started. 

Tips! Here’re a couple of analogous reads about the Portuguese present and past tenses:
Portuguese Past Tenses – Usage Rundown Anchored to English
Portuguese Present Tenses – Usage Rundown Anchored to English

Conjugation

I will be using the verb pensar (think) for the usage examples below. Here’s what it looks like when conjugated in the Portuguese simple future tense (futuro):

Pensar | Simple future
Futuro
Eupensarei
Tupensarás
Ele, elapensará
Nóspensaremos
Vocês
Eles, elas
pensarão

It is worth noticing that the Portuguese equivalent of the simple future tense has a conjugation pattern that encompasses almost all verbs (three exceptions only). In the table above, you will see all regular endings bolded out. 

To conjugate the Portuguese simple future tense, take the infinitive form of any verb (that will make the stem) and add those endings to it. It’s as simple as that.

Here’re the three exceptions I’ve mentioned above (the endings are the same but the stem doesn’t correspond to the infinitive form):

Fazer DizerTrazer
Eufareidireitrarei
Tufarásdirástrarás
Ele, elafarádirátrará
Nósfaremosdiremostraremos
Vocês
Eles, elas
farãodirãotrarão

Simple future

Here’s an example with the Portuguese simple future tense (futuro): 

pensar (futuro)
Pensarei nisso e digo-te algo mais tarde.
I will think about that and I’ll get back to you later on.

Now, this futuro tense will often sound too formal and is mostly used in written language. In day-to-day life, we are likely to use something more colloquial and akin to the English structure be going to + main verb.

We’ll now need ir as our auxiliary verb:

Ir| Simple present
Presente
Euvou
Tuvais
Ele, elavai
Nósvamos
Vocês
Eles, elas
vão

Here’s a more colloquial version of the example above:

ir (presente) + pensar (infinitivo)
Vou pensar nisso e digo-te algo mais tarde.
I will think about that and I’ll get back to you later on.

Note that, in English, the difference between will + infinitive vs. be going to + infinitive is overly contextual (and not so much pertaining to differences in style). 

In Portuguese, however, the difference between futuro vs. ir + infinitive mostly concerns style and register (formal/written vs. informal/spoken).

Finally, we sometimes use futuro to wonder about something (uncertain scenario): 

pensar (futuro)
O Edgar pensará que estou chateado com ele… 
Edgar might be thinking I am cross with him…

In this context, another alternative (perhaps more common) would be to use the Portuguese modal* verb dever:

dever (presente) > pensar (infinitivo)
O Edgar deve pensar que estou chateado com ele… 
Edgar might be thinking I am cross with him…

* Learn more about the Portuguese equivalents of English modal verbs: Portuguese Modal Verbs Equivalent to Must, May, Could, Should, and the Like

Future in the past

Often, we talk about the future from a time in the past. Then, we use the so-called future-in-the-past tense. 

In Portuguese, there are two ways of doing this. Either we use (1) the conditional (condicional) or (2) a compound structure with the auxiliary verb ir conjugated in the imperfect tense (pretérito imperfeito) and the main verb in the infinitive. 

Ir | Imperfect
Pretérito imperfeito
Pensar | Conditional
Condicional
Euiapensaria
Tuiaspensarias
Ele, elaiapensaria
Nósíamospensaríamos
Vocês
Eles, elas
iampensariam

* Note that in Brazilian Portuguese the condicional tense is sensibly called futuro do passado (literally future of the past). Also, the condicional´s conjugation shares the same principles and exceptions as the futuro tense (as spelled out before). The only difference between the two is the conjugated endings (bolded out in the table above).  

Here’s an example:

(1) pensar (condicional)
Eu estava certo que pensaria em ti todos os dias enquanto fosse vivo.
(2) ir (pret. imperfeito) > pensar (infinitivo)
Eu estava certo que ía pensar em ti todos os dias enquanto fosse vivo.
I was sure I would think of you every day as long as I lived.

Both alternatives are common. The first option is perhaps slightly more formal than the second.

Future continuous

We use the future continuous tense to indicate that something will occur in the future and continue for an expected length of time. 

As in any other continuous/progressive tense, you’ll be using estar as the auxiliary verb:

Estar | Future simple
Futuro
Euestarei
Tuestarás
Ele, elaestará
Nósestaremos
Vocês
Eles, elas
estarão

Here’s an example:

estar (futuro) > a > pensar (infinitivo)
Daqui a cinco anos, estarei certamente ainda a pensar em ti.
Five years from now, I’ll surely still be thinking of you. 

Tips! Learn more about Portuguese progressive tenses: Portuguese Gerund: Progressive Tenses and Beyond.

As I pointed out before, it’s more colloquial to use the structure  ir + infinitivo than the futuro tense

ir (presente) >  estar (infinitivo) >  a > pensar (infinitivo)
Daqui a cinco anos, vou estar certamente ainda a pensar em ti.
Five years from now, I’ll surely still be thinking of you. 

Keep in mind that continuous tenses look slightly different in the Brazilian standard – the preposition a is left out and our main verb (pensar) comes in the present participle (gerúndio) instead:

Brazilian standard → pensar (gerúndio)
(1) Daqui a cinco anos, estarei certamente ainda pensando em ti.
(2) Daqui a cinco anos, vou estar certamente ainda pensado em ti.
Five years from now, I’ll surely still be thinking of you. 

Future perfect

We use the future perfect to refer to completed actions in the future.

As in any other perfect tense, we will be using the auxiliary verb ter (this time around conjugated in the futuro tense:

Ter | Simple future
Futuro
Euterei
Tuterás
Ele, elaterá
Nósteremos
Vocês
Eles, elas
terão

Let’s change our main verb to trabalhar (instead of pensar). We’ll be using its past participle form* (particípio passado), that is, trabalhado. Here’s an example:

ter (futuro) >  trabalhar (particípio passado)
Daqui a dez anos, terei certamente trabalhado em três países diferentes.
Ten years from now, I’ll have for sure worked in three different countries. 

* Learn more about the Portuguese past participle: Portuguese Past Participle and Auxiliary Verbs that Go with It

As pointed out before, we use the simple future tense to hypothesize or express doubt. The same goes for the future perfect (which in this case refers to a time in the past):

ter (futuro) >  trabalhar (particípio passado)
Terá ele trabalhado neste setor de atividade?
Do you think that he has worked in this industry before?

Reading tips! If you’ve enjoyed this read, you’ll probably like these as well:
Portuguese Past Tenses – Usage Rundown Anchored to English
Portuguese Present Tenses – Usage Rundown Anchored to English

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