There are two future in the Croatian language: futur prvi (the first future tense) and futur drugi (the second future tense). We will focus here on futur prvi as you can kind of live without futur drugi since it’s used only in hypothetical future situations – and to be perfectly honest, even Croatians often don’t always use it right. So, when we talk about the future tense, we talk about futur prvi.
The future tense is definitely the easiest tense to learn in the Croatian language and we use this simple scheme to make it:
|FUTURE TENSE = AUXILIARY VERB HTJETI (WILL), short form + MAIN VERB IN INFINITIVE|
|Glagol htjeti (kratki, nenaglašeni oblik)
The verb will (short, unstressed form)
|1.||(ja) ću||I will||1.||(mi) ćemo||we will|
|2.||(ti) ćeš||you will||2.||(vi) ćete||you will|
|3.||(on) će||he (m.) will||3.||(oni) će||they (m.) will|
|(ona) će||she (f.) will||(one) će||they (f.) will|
|(ono) će||it (n.) will||(ona) će||they (n.) will|
Again, since you don’t need to change the main verb at all, this means that the only thing you actually do need to learn to form the future tense are the forms of the verb htjeti (will), as shown above. So, let’s have a look at what the future tense looks like, using the verb učiti (to learn) as an example:
|Futur prvi glagola učiti
The future tense of the verb to learn
|1.||ja ću učiti||I will learn||1.||mi ćemo učiti||we will learn|
|2.||ti ćeš učiti||you will learn||2.||vi ćete učiti||you will learn|
|3.||on će učiti||he (m.) will learn||3.||oni će učiti||they (m.) will learn|
|ona će učiti||she (f.) will learn||one će učiti||they (f.) will learn|
|ono će učiti*||it (n.) will learn||ona će učiti||they (n.) will learn|
*In Croatian, ono (it) does not refer just to an object, but to any neuter noun, even if it means a person, like dijete (child). So, ono će učiti can mean dijete će učiti.
Some more examples:
Ja ću plivati u moru. – I will swim in the sea.
Ti ćeš jesti morske plodove. – You will eat seafood.
Mi ćemo kuhati za vas večeras. – We will cook for you tonight.
Oni će gledati vijesti na TV-u. – They will watch the news on TV.
On će doći kasnije. – He will come later.
Vi ćete ići s nama. – You will go with us.
Ona će spavati u apartmanu. – She will sleep in a holiday apartment.
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Do we always need to use the (ja, ti, on…) in future tense sentences?
No. If you read our blog posts regularly, you might have learned that you can drop the (ja, ti, on…) from the sentence pretty much any time when it’s clear from the context who the is, since the form of the verb in any tense always tells you who the is (take a look at our blog posts about the present tense and the past tense). So, it’s also possible to make the sentences above by omitting the subject. We tend to do that in sentences where it’s very clear from the context who we are talking about. In such situations, the main verb comes before the auxiliary.
Ja ću plivati. or Plivat ću. – I will swim. (NOT: Plivati ću.)
Ja ću jesti. or Jest ću. – You will eat. (NOT: Jesti ću.)
Mi ćemo kuhati. or Kuhat ćemo. – We will cook. (NOT: Kuhati ćemo.)
Oni će gledati. or Gledat će. – They will watch. (NOT: Gledati će.)
BUT: On će doći. or Doći će. – He will come.
Vi ćete ići. or Ići ćete. – You will go.
Can you see the difference? The verbs that have infinitive endings in -ti lose the final -i when we omit the subject, while the ones whose infinitives end in -ći remain unchanged, i.e. don’t lose any letters.
You might be interested in reading the blog post and watching the video of our student Bob where he talks about dealing with the issue of leaving a subject out when speaking Croatian.
By the way, it might happen that you find forms like plivat ću or gledat ću a little bit hard to pronounce (as many of our students do). If that’s the case with you too, feel free to pronounce it as if it was one word and as if the letter t wasn’t the part of it, so pronouncing it as “plivaću” or “gledaću” is perfectly fine, that’s exactly how it sounds pronounced by native speakers too.
Does Croatian make any difference between will, shall, or going-to future?
No. Since there is only one “main” future tense, there is no difference in Croatian between will, shall or going to in future constructions. Take a look at this:
I will come tomorrow. – Ja ću doći sutra. / Doći ću sutra.
I am going to come tomorrow. – Ja ću doći sutra. / Doći ću sutra.
I shall come tomorrow. – Ja ću doći sutra. / Doći ću sutra.
Believe it or not, Croatian does sometimes like to keep things simple!
Exercise: Put the verbs in brackets into their future tense form, affirmative.
How do you feel about the future tense in Croatian? Easy-peasy?
Learning Croatian continues… Next Tuesday we are learning about the negative form of the future tense. If you want us to send you an email with the next Croatian grammar lesson, put your email address here.
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