The Spanish Future Perfect: Your Complete Guide
I can help you travel in time to a point where you are a step closer to becoming fluent in Spanish.
How can I do that?
By telling you everything you need to know about the Spanish future perfect tense!
- What Is the Spanish Future Perfect Tense?
- How to Form the Spanish Future Perfect
- When to Use the Spanish Future Perfect Tense
- Spanish Conditional Perfect vs. Spanish Future Perfect
- Practicing the Future Perfect
What Is the Spanish Future Perfect Tense?
The Spanish future perfect tense is used to describe something that “will have” been done in the future.
In other words, it’s used to talk about something that is expected to be done in the future, before another future event.
Habré terminado mi cena antes de que llegue a casa. (I will have finished my dinner before he gets home.)
It may seem a bit complex, but once you get a handle on how to form the future perfect tense and when to use it, you’ll sound more fluent!
How to Form the Spanish Future Perfect
To form the Spanish future perfect tense, we use this formula:
subject + haber (“to have,” conjugated in simple future) + past participle
Let’s take a look at some examples of this formula in use:
Sofía (subject) habrá (haber in simple future) terminado (past participle) sus estudios en 2022. (Sofía will have finished her studies by 2022.)
Yo (subject) habré (haber in simple future) vivido (past participle) aquí 10 años el mes que viene. (Next month I will have lived/been living here for 10 years.)
As we know already, in Spanish we don’t always need to add a subject, and forming the future perfect is no different: if we don’t want to emphasize the subject, we can just use haber (conjugated in simple future) + past participle.
So we’ve seen the most basic use of the formula—but there are a few changes we can make to alter the meaning:
- If you want to make the future perfect negative, just add no in front of haber:
No habrás terminado para mañana. (You won’t have finished by tomorrow.)
- To pose a question instead of make a statement, it’s pretty easy: just add question marks or change the intonation when speaking:
¿Habrás terminado para mañana? (Will you have finished by tomorrow?)
- And lastly, if you do have a subject, insert it after the past participle when asking a question:
¿Habrás terminado tú para mañana? (Will you have finished by tomorrow?)
Conjugating Haber in Simple Future
Here are the simple future conjugations of haber (to have) you will use to form the future perfect:
Conjugating the Past Participle
The past participle of a verb is formed by adding -ado to the stem of -ar verbs, or -ido to the stem of -er and -ir. Here are some examples:
|-ar||-ado||Comprar → Comprado|
|-er||-ido||Beber → Bebido|
|-ir||-ido||Vivir → Vivido|
When to Use the Spanish Future Perfect Tense
Future Finished Actions
The Spanish future perfect is used to talk about actions that will be finished (or not) at a certain point in the future.
Similar to what happens with the English future perfect, Spanish will include future time expressions very often when using this tense.
Have a look at some examples:
Mañana habré vuelto ya. (I will have already come back by tomorrow.)
Habremos aterrizado en Sevilla a esta hora mañana. (This time tomorrow we will have landed in Seville.)
Conjectures and Hypotheses
We use this tense in Spanish when we want to say that something may have happened but we are not sure!
We are not sure of what has happened; we are only hypothesizing:
Ya habrá llegado a casa. (He may have already arrived home.)
Habrán vendido la casa. (They may have sold the house.)
Spanish Conditional Perfect vs. Spanish Future Perfect
While we use the future perfect to talk about something that will happen, we use the conditional perfect when we want to say that something would have happened if a condition had been fulfilled. It usually uses the word si (if):
Habría ido si no hubiera estado enfermo. (I would have gone if I had not been ill.)
Si me lo hubieras dicho antes, te habría ayudado. (If you had told me before, I would have helped you.)
Where it can get confusing is when we want to talk about things that may have happened in the past, as technically you could use either the conditional perfect or the future perfect.
However, there are some rules to help you decide which is correct:
- Use the conditional perfect when it is possible that something happened/did not happen in the past, but the outcome was different from the one you expected.
- Use the future perfect when something may have happened and there is enough present evidence to be almost sure of your estimation.
Here are some examples that show the difference:
Habría llegado a tiempo si no me hubiera quedado dormido. (I would have arrived on time if I had not overslept.)
No habríamos perdido si hubieras jugado mejor. (We would not have lost if you had played better.)
Me habré tomado unos seis cafés. (I may have had around six coffees.)
Habremos esperado dos horas ya. (We must have waited/been waiting for two hours already.)
Practicing the Future Perfect
To really get comfortable using and understanding the Spanish future perfect, you need practice and exposure to how it’s used by native speakers.
Here are some great ways to practice the Spanish future perfect tense:
- Work with a language partner and even participate in an online language exchange, where you help a native Spanish speaker learn your native language and they do the same for you with Spanish.
- Watch Spanish videos. Videos are a great resource for learning the Spanish perfect tense, as you can see how it’s actually applied. To find Spanish videos that demonstrate the use of the future perfect, you could try FluentU, a language learning program that teaches by immersing you in authentic videos made by and for native speakers. All videos on the platform come with interactive subtitles, so you’ll be able to hear and see the future perfect used in different contexts.
- Take online Spanish courses. There are plenty of online Spanish courses out there, including comprehensive courses and courses with a specific focus on grammar.
- Learn with language learning apps. Apps are great resources for taking your learning on-the-go. They are also often free, and the study options with them are endless!
- Read Spanish books. Literature will always be full of all different kinds of tenses and moods so you can see them in action.
Now that you know how to use this tense, give it a try and perfect your way into the future!
Stay curious, my friends, and as always, happy learning!