French Future Perfect Tense: The Savvy Learner’s Guide
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The Savvy Learner’s Guide to French Future Perfect Tense

Oh hello there. There’s something I want to tell you: by the time you finish reading this article, you will have familiarized yourself with the futur antérieur.

See what I did there? In case you noticed (you quick-eyed, clever little you), I just gave you a little dose of the future perfect tense.

…and you will have noticed it after going back to recheck the introduction.

…and you will have laughed at yourself when you review it once more to check what you missed.

Ha!

But let’s move on and get into the meat of the topic: the what, when, how, where, and why of the futur antérieur or the French future perfect tense.

What is the French future perfect tense?

It’s the same thing as how you use it in English: to describe or talk about an action that will have happened or will be completed in a certain time in the future.

Sounds like a bit of a contradiction, isn’t it? Well, just a little. But you probably don’t notice it too much in your daily speech.

Here’s an example.

I will have finished my work by tomorrow. J’aurai fini mon travail demain.

See?

See also: French Future Tense: Everything You Need to Know

When do you use the future perfect tense?

Aside from the examples given above, there are other uses of the future perfect tense in French which do not correspond to the English usage. Here are the three of them:

  1. The future perfect is used during instances when we use “must” in English. For example: Henri n'est pas ici ;il aura oublié. (Henri isn’t here; he must have forgotten.)
  2. When using conjunctions like quand, lorsque, aussitôt que, dès que, une fois que and après que. In English, we would simply use either a present or a past tense. For example: Nous le feron saussitôtqu'elle sera arrivée. (We’ll do it as soon as she has arrived.)
  3. When talking about the events of a person’s life in a historical context. In English we use the past tense or sometimes even the conditional, but in French, the future perfect is used. For example: Victor Hugo aura écrit la poésie en deux heures. (Victor Hugo wrote poetry in two hours.) 

 

How do you form the French future perfect tense?

Forming the future perfect is simple enough; all you have to do is use the correct future tense of the auxiliary (either avoir or être) and combine it with the past participle of the verb.

In short, it is this formula:

Future tense of the auxiliary + past participle

There’s a tricky little catch though: just like other cases of compound conjugations in French, remember that the future perfect needs to agree.

  • When using the auxiliary verb être, the past participle needs to agree with the SUBJECT.
  • When using the auxiliary verb avoir, the past participle needs to agree with the DIRECT OBJECT.

(Too many rules? I feel ya.)

 why this is so hard

Don’t worry you’ll get the hang of it.

  • Here is an example using the auxiliary verb être:

Verb: aller (to go)

I will have gone. je serai allé(e)
You will have gone.tu seras allé(e)
He /She will have gone. Il/ elle sera allé(e)
We will have gone.nous serons allés(es)
You will have gone.
vous serez allés(es)
They will have gone.Ils/elles seront allés(es)
  • Another set of examples using the auxiliary avoir.

Verb: aimer (to love)

I will have loved.J’aurai aimé
You will have loved. Tu auras aimé
He/she will have loved.Il/elle aura aimé
We will have loved.Nous aurons aimé
You will have loved. Vous aurez aimé
They will have loved. Ils/elles auront aimé

Where will you place the auxiliary verbs avoir or être in the French future perfect tense?

Most likely you are already familiar with this question based on previous lessons. But as a quick reminder, French verbs, when used in compound conjugations, either appear with avoir or être.

Most French verbs use avoir, but for the verbs below, the helping verb être is the one being used.

arriver – to arrive

descendre– to descend

entrer– to enter

rentrer– to reenter

monter– to climb

remonter – to climb again

naître – to be born

renaître – to be reborn

partir – to leave

repartir – to leave again

passer – to pass

rester – to stay

retourner – to return

sortir – to go out

resortir – to go out again

tomber– to fall

retomber – to fall again

venir – to come

devenir– to become

parvenir – to reach

revenir– to come back

You might notice that all the être verbs refer to some sort of movement.

And, finally…

Why do you need to learn about the French future perfect?

Let’s face it, it’s hard. Even more so when your heart isn’t in it. But why, why do you need to study this anyway?

Simple:  you want to be a good French speaker, don’t you?

To be able to express yourself fully in French, you need to be familiar with the future perfect. If you are going to study French, then you might as well do it completely. Remember, doing things half-assed isn’t a cool way to learn.

Alright?

Okay.

cool cool cool

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions in the comment section below. Cheers!


P.S. You would be doing me a HUGE FAVOR by sharing it via Twitter, Facebook, Google + or Pinterest.

About the Author Frederic

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Twitter and Google +

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