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futur ii Tense in German Grammar

How to use German futur II

Introduction

German Futur II (Future Perfect) is a verb tense used to describe actions that will be completed in the future before another point in the future. It's often used in hypothetical or speculative contexts, as well as in indirect speech.

To form the Futur II tense in German, you'll need to follow these steps:

1. Select the Appropriate Auxiliary Verb: German Futur II is formed using the auxiliary verb "haben" (to have) or "sein" (to be), depending on the main verb's type. Most verbs use "haben," but some motion verbs and a few others use "sein."

2. Conjugate the Auxiliary Verb: Conjugate the auxiliary verb in the present tense, depending on the subject. For "haben," you'd conjugate it as follows:

  • Ich werde gehabt haben

  • Du wirst gehabt haben

  • Er/sie/es wird gehabt haben

  • Wir werden gehabt haben

  • Ihr werdet gehabt haben

  • Sie werden gehabt haben

For "sein," conjugate it as follows:

  • Ich werde gewesen sein

  • Du wirst gewesen sein

  • Er/sie/es wird gewesen sein

  • Wir werden gewesen sein

  • Ihr werdet gewesen sein

  • Sie werden gewesen sein

3. Add the Past Participle: The past participle of the main verb is added to the conjugated auxiliary verb. For regular verbs, this is formed by adding "-t" to the verb's stem. For irregular verbs, you'll need to memorise the past participle.

4. Combine the Parts: Combine the conjugated auxiliary verb and the past participle to form the Futur II tense.

Here are some examples:

  • Regular verb ("haben"): "Ich werde das Buch gelesen haben." (I will have read the book.)

  • Irregular verb ("sein"): "Er wird um 10 Uhr gegangen sein." (He will have gone at 10 o'clock.)

Common Uses of Futur II:

  1. Expressing Completed Actions Before a Certain Point in the Future: You use Futur II to indicate that an action will be completed before a specific point in the future.

    Example: "Bis zum Abend werde ich mein Projekt abgeschlossen haben." (By the evening, I will have completed my project.)

  2. Hypothetical Scenarios: It's used in hypothetical or speculative scenarios to indicate what would have happened in the past if certain conditions had been met.

    Example: "Wenn ich das gewusst hätte, hätte ich es dir gesagt." (If I had known that, I would have told you.)

  3. Indirect Speech: Futur II is often used in indirect speech to report what someone said about the future.

    Example: Er sagte, er werde um 9 Uhr angekommen sein. (He said he would have arrived at 9 o'clock.)

German Futur II can be complex and is generally used in more formal or literary contexts. It's essential to understand the context in which it's used to apply it correctly.

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To conjugate verbs in the future perfect tense, we need the finite form of werden, the past participle of the full verb, and the auxiliary verbs sein/haben.

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Usage

We use the future perfect to express:

  • Assumption - an assumed action in the past:

    Example:

    Er wird wohl gestürzt sein.

    Er wird eine Panne gehabt haben.

  • Prognosis - an assumed action that will be completed at a specific time in the future (a time is always needed here so that we know we are talking about the future).

    Example:

    Bis dahin wird er den Roller repariert haben.

important

We often strengthen assumptions by using phrases such as: wohl, likely/probably, sicher, certainly, bestimmt, definitely.

Example:

Er wird wohl gestürzt sein.
Er wird wohl eine Panne gehabt haben.

Quick Tip for Using German Futur II:

When using German Futur II, remember that it's primarily used in more formal or literary contexts. In everyday spoken German, you may often use the present tense or other future tenses to convey similar meanings more naturally.

For example, instead of saying, "Ich werde morgen das Buch gelesen haben" (Tomorrow, I will have read the book), you can often use the present tense and say, "Ich lese morgen das Buch" (I will read the book tomorrow) to express the same idea in a simpler way. This will make your German sound more conversational and closer to how native speakers commonly express themselves.

Past Participle

The past participle (participle II) is constructed in two different ways, according to whether we conjugate a strong verb (ge...en) or a weak/mixed verb (ge...t).

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exceptions

  • Many strong and mixed verbs change their stem in the past participle.

    Example:

    gehen – gegangen, bringen – gebracht

  • If the word stem ends in d/t, we add an -et to weak and mixed verbs.

    Example:

    arbeiten – gearbeitet

  • Verbs that end in -ieren form the past participle without ge.

    Example:

    probieren – probiert

  • Inseparable verbs form the past participle without ge.

    Example:

    bestehen – bestanden

  • With separable verbs, ge goes after the prefix. 

    Example:

    ankommen – angekommen

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