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Future tense

In linguistics, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by a verb as not having happened yet, but expected in the future.

Future tense in English

In English, as in most Germanic languages, there is no future tense in the sense of a specific inflection that marks a verb for futurity after the fashion of the markers that appear in the preterite forms of the past tense. Rather, the future tense is marked by the use of a number of auxiliary verbs.

The verb shall formerly appeared as a future tense marker. It is now obsolescent in that function, but appears in a desiderative function with subjunctive force in legal ordinances and similar documents:

and in strong declarations of intent or resolve: Now will serves as the ordinary marker of the English future tense. The former distinction between shall and will may have been levelled due to the reduction, in most ordinary speech, of either form to the contraction 'll. The verb phrase be going to also marks a future construction in more colloquial varieties of English; it too is frequently contracted.

Future tense in Latin

The future tense forms in Latin varied by conjugation. Here is a sample of the future tense for the first conjugation verbe 'amare', 'to love'.

 amabo     I will (shall) love
 amabis    You (singular) will love
 amabit    He, she, it will love
 amabimus  We will love
 amabitis  You (plural) will love
 amabunt   They will love

This method of producing the future tense in Latin was replaced in the Romance languages by another form using the infinitive plus an ending.