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Mastering the Future: A Guide to Forming Future Tense in Russian


For you to talk about your plans for the future in Russian you need to know a few crucial rules. Unlike English, which often uses auxiliary verbs, Russian relies on conjugations and different forms of verbs to express future actions. Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding and forming the future tense in Russian.


1st way of forming future - facts

This is the first and most common way of forming future. For this we will need perfective aspect. If you don't know what aspects are in Russian - watch this video.


Perfective verbs in Russian inherently indicate the completion of an action and are often used to form the simple future tense. These verbs do not have a present tense form. Instead, they directly conjugate to indicate future actions.


Structure:


Subject + conjugated perfective verb


Examples:


  • Я прочитаю книгу. (I will read the book.)

  • Они поедут в Москву. (They will go to Moscow.)


The highlighted words are perfective and they indicate that the action is done in the future.


Usage:


To express an action that will be completed in the future: "Она напишет письмо." (She will write a letter.) But the main point of this sentence is that the action will be done. Facts are more important than processes, unlike our next one.


2nd way of forming future - processes

For this way of forming future we need imperfective verbs, so opposite of the 1st way. Imperfective verbs, which denote ongoing or repeated actions, form the future tense with the auxiliary verb "быть" (to be) conjugated in the future tense, followed by the imperfective infinitive.


Structure:


Subject + future tense of "быть" + imperfective infinitive


Conjugation of "быть" in the Future Tense:


  • Я буду (I will be)

  • Ты будешь (You will be)

  • Он/она/оно будет (He/She/It will be)

  • Мы будем (We will be)

  • Вы будете (You will be)

  • Они будут (They will be)


Examples:


  • Я буду читать книгу. (I will be reading the book.)

  • Они будут работать завтра. (They will be working tomorrow.)


As you can see, we must use быть for us to form these sentences.


Usage:


To express an ongoing or repeated action in the future: "Мы будем смотреть фильм." (We will be watching a movie.) Process is more important now, not facts.

3rd way of forming future - preplanned actions

This way of forming future is extremely rare, but that doesn't mean that it's not important. We use it when we know the exact time and place of something that will happen. Typically used for scheduled events. Flights, concerts, etc.


Structure:


Subject + conjugated present tense verb



Examples:


  • Я иду на концерт вечером. (I'm going to a concert in the evening)

  • Они выступают завтра. (They will be performing tomorrow.)


Usage:

Whenever you have an action that was planned ahead of time, use this way of forming future.



Nuances in Future tenses

Choosing between perfective and imperfective verbs can change the nuance of the sentence. Perfective verbs focus on the completion of an action, while imperfective verbs emphasize the process or repetition.


Perfective Verbs:

  • Я напишу письмо. (I will write a letter, focusing on the completion.)

Imperfective Verbs:

  • Я буду писать письмо. (I will be writing a letter, focusing on the process.)


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