Is it possible to use the present simple to talk about the future, when the context makes it clear?

More examples

  • Ich komme um 9 an.
  • Ich mach das morgen.
  • Ich gehe am Mittwoch dort hin.
  • Ich sehe dich in der Nacht.
  • Wir essen heute in einem neuen Restuarant.

And the main example Ich rufe dich an I guess it is possible also because it is obvious that the call will take place in the future.

  • 2
    You may also have a look at Perfect tense to describe future events and How to describe the near future in German?
    – tavkomann
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 14:26
  • Ich gehe am Mittwoch dort hin
    – bukwyrm
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 14:39
  • 1
    Ich sehe dich in der Nacht is probably not translated very good; heute Nacht would better reflect the intended time. As it stands, it more suggests an extremely good eyesight despite darkness.
    – guidot
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 15:08
  • @guidot It's also a good example of an anglicism, as "ich sehe dich + time" is not a common German expression, but "see you + time" is perfectly fine in English.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 10:49

3 Answers 3


German tense »Präsens« has these use cases:

  • aktuelles Präsens
    • singular event in the present

      Ich bin (gerade) am Hauptplatz.

    • repeating and still going on event.

      Ich gehe jeden Montag ins Kino.

  • generelles Präsens
    something that is forever

    Eisen ist ein Metall.

  • resultatives Präsens
    events from the past that reach into the present or future

    Der Abgeordnete stellt den Antrag, dass ...

  • historisches Präsens
    a historic event in the past

    Am 24. April 1986 schmilzt ein Reaktorkern in Tschernobyl.

  • futurisches Präsens
    an event in the future

    Ich kaufe mir in einer Woche ein neues Auto.

  • episches Präsens
    You can tell stories using Präsens

    Tom öffnet die Tür und tritt auf die Straße.

  • szenisches Präsens In stories you can switch to Präsens to increase excitement.

    Die Gäste saßen im Garten und tranken Tee. Plötzlich donnert es.

Your examples are all examples for futurisches Präsens.


(more examples for futurisches Präsens as requested in a comment)

You can use futurisches Präsens with any verb. There is no limitation for the kind of verb.

If you add a time or date specification that specifies a point in time in the future, you always can use Präsens instead of Futur I.

Ich fahre nächsten Mittwoch nach Prag.
In 10 Minuten beginnt der Film.
Am 11. Februar 2029 feiert der Vatikan sein Hundertjahrjubiläum.

Also temporal adverbs which point into the future can be uses together with Präsens:

Ich räume mein Zimmer gleich auf.
Ilse heiratet bald.

But you can use Präsens also without any time specifications to describe an event in the future, if the context defines a setting in the future:


It is June, a few weeks before the long summer holidays, and two teachers are making smalltalk:

Tom: Wo verbringst du die Ferien?
Lisa: Ich mache eine Kreuzfahrt.
Tom. Ach, wirklich? Fährst nur du alleine?
Lisa: Nein, ich reise mit einer Freundin.

The whole conversation is grammatically in Präsens, but they're both talking about events that will happen in the future.

  • Great answer! Can you give more examples regarding futurisches präsens? Does it work with all verbs? Do i have to add a specific time to use it? z.B with no specific time - Ich werde das prüfen or ich prüfe das.
    – Tomas
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 8:02

You are right in your assumption that context matter. In colloquial German the present tense is often used when from context it is clear the the action can only happen in the future or an explizit time is given. People speaking or writing German properly (as compared to lazy teenagers) will still use the future tense for emphasis or clarity.

  • The names of the German tenses are taken from Latin, but that does not mean that German tenses are supposed to be used in the same way as Latin (or English) tenses. Using present tense for describing future events in German is neither incorrect nor limited to colloquial language.
    – Uwe
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 21:21

Future tense is unfortunately obsolete in German. As a child I've learned it yet as a quite ordinary tense as all the others. Today sometimes I get "fixed" if I still use it. :-(

They simply say presens, extending with the time. For example: "Morgen gehe ich ins Geschäft".

They understand it (they know and understand even futur II, like "Morgen werde ich ins Geschäft gegangen sein"), but they catch the mistake on the spot. A native speaker I've asked, how does it sound today, used the Sch-word to explain.

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