Using ”Ir + a + Infinitive” to Talk About the Near Future

The future is now. Add a new Spanish verb tense to your language repertoire with the ‘near future’ tense. Learn how to talk about what you’re ‘going to do’ in this lesson.

The Near Future

The near future. While I don’t know exactly how it got its name, I do know that tenses have names in order to differentiate them from one another. The ‘near future’ is for saying that you’re going to do something. ‘I’m going to study tomorrow.’ ‘You’re going to eat pizza for dinner tonight.’ ‘We’re going to go to the beach on vacation in July.’ Now, how ‘near’ are these things away from happening? Well, that can vary considerably. It doesn’t have to be in an hour, in a day, in a week or even in a year, necessarily. Time is relative, and so is one’s perception of time.

So, what we need to remember is that this tense is ‘going to,’ not ‘will.’ Whether you’re talking about today, tomorrow, next week or next year, if you want to use the phrase ‘going to (do) something’ as opposed to ‘will do something,’ this is the tense you want, in both English and Spanish. ‘Will do’ is a different future tense that you’ll learn later.

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The Formula

Que bien! The near future formula is an easy one: Ir + a + infinitive

And, this is how we put it into action. First, we conjugate the ir part of the formula. Then, we add the a in the middle. Then, we choose our infinitive, which will be the meat of what we want to say.

First, let’s review our ir conjugations for a moment:

Ir = to go
voy = I’m going vamos = we’re going
vas = you (fam.) are going
va = he, she, it, is going/you (form.) are going van = they/you guys are going

I am going to walk.

Let’s follow the formula. I am going? Voy. To? a. Walk? Caminar. Our formula for this sentence is: Voy + a + caminar. Voy a caminar. So, what are the five conjugations of caminar in the near future?

Voy a caminar Vamos a caminar
Vas a caminar
Va a caminar Van a caminar

We are going to eat.

We are going? Vamos. To? a. Eat? Comer. Our formula for this sentence is: Vamos + a + comer. Vamos a comer. And, the five conjugations of comer in the near future:

Voy a comer Vamos a comer
Vas a comer
Va a comer Van a comer

Marco is going to swim.

Marco is going? Va. To? a. Swim? Nadar. Our complete formula for this sentence: Marco va + a + nadar. Marco va a nadar. Five conjugations of nadar in the near future:

Voy a nadar Vamos a nadar
Vas a nadar
Va a nadar Van a nadar

A Practicar

So, by this time, I bet you’re seeing the pattern! A practicar! Fill in the formula!

  1. Marta is going to read.
  2. Amilia and Juan are going to sunbathe.
  3. We are going to practice Spanish.

(Answers: 1. Marta va a leer. 2. Amilia y Juan van a tomar el sol. 3. Nosotros vamos a practicar espa;ol.)

Lesson Review

Muy bien! What have we learned today?

  1. The near future is a verb tense that is based on the specific phrase ‘going to do’ something. The ‘near’ part varies considerably.
  2. The near future formula is: Ir (conjugated) + a + infinitive. The verb ir is conjugated to agree with the subject. The a is ‘to.’ And, the meat of what you want to say is the infinitive verb, such as caminar, comer or nadar.
  3. Here’s a sample chart of the five conjugations of caminar:

Voy a caminar Vamos a caminar
Vas a caminar
Va a caminar Van a caminar

Y ahora? Sí! Tú vas a estudiar.

Learning Outcomes

Following this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain when to use the near future tense
  • Describe how to use the near future tense in Spanish
  • Use the near future formula to conjugate verbs in Spanish

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