AFAIK Futur I (werden + inf) isn't used in German any more. But 20 years ago I still learned it, and currently I feel somehow improper if I don't use it. I have a very bad feeling that I somehow lost the precision of what I say.

Maybe I should cease to use that as well?

My question is, how does it sound if a foreigner uses Futur I as it was done 30 years ago?

  • There is no way around Futur if you are talking about something that will happen in the future. I speak it daily. May 19 '14 at 20:01

It is still used. Just not as much. You need it, if there is no info about time in the sentence, when you want to emphasize your resolve, or when the present tense could be misunderstood as a general statement of habit.... which is basically because no time is indicated.

Ich werde das nicht länger dulden.

In New York werde ich sooooo shoppen gehen, ey.

I'm pretty sure, there are more instances but I can't think of them right now. For all the mundane stuff though that does contain a when-box, don't worry about precision. There is no more or less info in it. Just less redundancy.

Tomorrow (fut.) I will write (fut)...

Morgen (fut) schreibe ich (not past)...

  • 2
    Should we distinguish spoken and written language? I don't have hard evidence, but I think that the present form is hardly ever used for future tense in (somewhat precise) writing.
    – Raphael
    May 19 '14 at 18:25
  • @Raphael... we could, but prose is usually in past and as for documents and similar things... I think "Sie erhalten von uns dann eine kurze Eingangsbestätigung" is more common than the future 1 version. That leaves only newspapers and there I think you have a point, although we're also seeing a lot of Konjunktiv "Er sagte, er werde..."
    – Emanuel
    May 19 '14 at 19:55
  • why "Just not as much"? Aren't people talking about the future any longer? Not my observation. May 19 '14 at 20:01
  • @ThorstenStaerk... I am referring to the grammatical tense in comparison to 20 years ago (though I don't actually know if they really were used more)
    – Emanuel
    May 19 '14 at 20:03
  • @Thorsten In my experience in day-to-day conversations you use the future exceedingly rarely even when talking about future events. Although I find that also holds to a good degree in English and French. I'm afraid with 24 I'm too young to make much statements about use of language 20 years ago though :-)
    – Voo
    May 19 '14 at 21:09

It's definitely still in use and there is noting wrong with it, even though it is, perhaps, not always strictly necessary.

When you indicate a time, you can (should? not sure) use the present instead:

Morgen gehe ich einkaufen. Am Dienstag bekomme ich Besuch.

If there is no such indication, use the regular Futur. There are also cases where it would be confusing to not use it:

Ich werde immer an dich denken = I will always think of you (I won't forget you.)

Ich denke immer an dich = I am always (i.e., constantly) thinking of you.

You might also want to use it to make sure that your sentence cannot be misunderstood as a more general statement:

Im Sommer fahre ich auf (or: in) Urlaub.

This could mean both "this summer" or "every summer". "Im Sommer werde ich ... fahren" removes this ambiguity.

  • 2
    Nice example with the "denken"... but "auf Urlaub"? Which part of DACH are you from?
    – Emanuel
    May 19 '14 at 10:31
  • 3
    Oh never mind... just saw Austria in your profile... in Northern Germany it's "in den Urlaub"
    – Emanuel
    May 19 '14 at 10:32
  • Won't argue with that :) Added both variants to my example.
    – Ingmar
    May 19 '14 at 10:35
  • 1
    Actually in English Ich denke immer an dich would be translated as I think of you all the time - no continuous form :-) May 19 '14 at 11:07
  • I've heard it both ways. How would you translate "thinking of you, always" then? Not that this isn't somewhat beside the point.
    – Ingmar
    May 19 '14 at 11:13

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