In German, the future tense is expressed through the verb ‘werden’ and the infinitive of the main verb. By itself, ‘werden’ means ‘to become’ or ‘get’ (e.g. Es wird spät. / It is getting late.); however, it is also used to construct the future tenses as well as the passive voice (more on the latter in A2.2). The verb is conjugated below.
Here are some further examples of how ‘werden’ is used in the present tense as a main verb:
Heute hast du Geburtstag! Du wirst älter! / Today is your birthday! You are getting older!
Das Wetter wird immer kühler. / The weather is becoming increasingly cool/getting cooler.
Das Futur I
The future can be expressed through adverbs of time, such as ‘morgen,’ ‘übermorgen,’ bald,’ ‘nächste Woche,’ ‘in der Zukunft,’ etc., as well as through the future tense (das Futur). This is constructed from a present tense conjugation of ‘werden’ plus an infinitive of the main verb placed at the end of the sentence. For example, if you want to say that you will buy a bicycle, it would look like this:
Ich werde ein Fahrrad kaufen.
The main verb ‘kaufen’ carries the meaning of the sentence, and ‘werden’ is just used to indicate the future tense, much like the English equivalent ‘will.’ Further, ‘werden’ can be used as a main verb in the future tense:
Du wirst frustriert werden. / You will be getting frustrated.
In addition, the adverbs ‘wohl,’ ‘wahrscheinlich,’ and ‘vielleicht’ (highly likely, probably, maybe, respectively) are added to speculate (e.g. Hannah wird wahrscheinlich nicht zur Party kommen.). There are two forms of the future (Futur I & II), the latter being the future perfect.
Das Futur II (Future Perfect)
Although not as often used as Futur I, the future perfect is important to recognize. It uses ‘werden’ as the conjugated auxiliary verb and contains a past participle, which is followed by the infinitive form of its helping verb (e.g. gemacht + haben, gekommen + sein). Consider the following examples:
Ich werde die Email geschrieben haben. / I will have written the email.
Ich werde nach Hause gegangen sein. / I will have gone home.
Both of the examples are technically complete sentences; however, context is needed in order for them to make sense:
Ich werde nach Hause gegangen sein, bevor es regnet. / I will have gone home before it rains.