The future tense in French
English forms its future tense using 'll (or will or shall): John'll be there at four; will I need to confirm?. Additionally, English has progressive forms such as will you be needing it?. French has a synthetic ("one-word") future tense form that is generally used in similar circumstances to all these English forms with will ..., 'll be ...ing, shall be ...ing etc. We'll look in more detail below at when to use the future tense. But to start with, we'll see how to form the French future tense.
How to form the future tense in French
In the written form, the future tense is generally straightforward.
In other words, the future tense consists of a 'future stem', generally the same as the infinitive, plus an ending depending on the subject. Here is the verb donner with all its future tense forms:
Similarly, finir gives je finirai etc. Verbs that end in -re remove the -e of the infinitive before adding the future tense endings: je vendrai, je mettrai, je boirai.
The examples at the end of the previous paragraph show that many otherwise irregular verbs such as boire actually have regular future tense forms. Just a handful of verbs have irregular future tense forms. The next page gives a list of French verbs with irregular future stems.
Spelling issues with 'semi-regular' -er verbs
The spoken form
In the spoken form of -er verbs at least, the 'infinitive plus ending' does not necessarily account very well for the pronunciation of these forms. See this page on the pronunciation of the future tense in French.
When to use the future tense in French
The future tense is used in French in many cases where English would use will ... or will be ...ing. However, there are some key differences; see the usage of the future tense in French for more detais.