Although English has a future perfect tense, it is rarely used. For this reason, most English speakers who decide to learn Italian are a little intimidated by the Italian future perfect tense (futuro anteriore).
It is nothing to fear, though, and its rules are pretty straightforward. In this lesson, we will show you how to form, use and understand the futuro anteriore. Let’s get started!
How to use the futuro anteriore
In standard Italian, the futuro anteriore, also called futuro composto, refers to an action which will have already finished before another action occurs in the future.
Dopo che avrai finito i compiti, potrai andare a giocare al parco – After you will have finished your homework, you can go play in the park
The above describes a future action (going playing in the park) occurring after an earlier future action has been completed (finishing the homework).
Here is another example:
Appena avrò guardato questo DVD, te lo presterò volentieri – As soon as I have watched this DVD, I will gladly lend it to you
As you can see, the Italian futuro anteriore refers to an action which will be over before another future event (generally introduced by the futuro semplice) takes place.The futuro anteriore is also used in ways that might appear a bit stranger to native English-speaking learners. It can be used to:
Avranno capito che stavo scherzando? – Do you think they understood that I was joking? (I am wondering if they understood that I was joking, there is no intent to talk about the future in this sentence)
Le luci sono accese, Rebecca si sarà dimenticata di spegnerle – The lights are on, Rebecca must have forgotten to turn them off
Melissa non ha passato l’esame di inglese, non avrà studiato abbastanza – Melissa didn’t pass the English test, she mustn’t have studied enough
As you might have noticed, in this case the futuro anteriore corresponds to “must have” in English.
The Italian future perfect tense is also to be used to talk about what will have happened by a point in time in the future.Domani a quest’ora Emma sarà già arrivata a Montego Bay – By this time tomorrow Emma will have already arrived in Montego Bay
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How to construct the futuro anteriore
As you saw above, the futuro anteriore is a compound tense, which means that it requires an auxiliary verb.
As with the passato prossimo and trapassato prossimo, you will use the past participle of the verb describing the action preceded by avere (to have) and essere (to be), but this time those auxiliary verbs will be in the future simple tense.
The conjugations of the auxiliary verbs “avere” and “essere” are as follow:
Avere (to have)
Essere (to be)
To make the past participle of regular verbs you just have to remove the infinitive ending -are, -ere or -ire and add the correct ending. Just follow this simple rule:
Regular verbs form the future perfect tense as follows:
Giocare (to play)
|Io avrò giocato||I will have played|
|Tu avrai giocato||You will have played|
|Lui/lei avrà giocato||He/she/it will have played|
|Noi avremo giocato||We will have played|
|Voi avrete giocato||Y’all will have played|
|Loro avranno giocato||They will have played|
Credere (to believe)
|Io avrò creduto||I will have believed|
|Tu avrai creduto||You will have believed|
|Lui/lei avrà creduto||He/she/it will have believed|
|Noi avremo creduto||We will have believed|
|Voi avrete creduto||Y’all will have believed|
|Loro avranno creduto||They will have believed|
Agire (to act)
|Io avrò agito||I will have acted|
|Tu avrai agito||You will have acted|
|Lui/lei avrà agito||He/she/it will have acted|
|Noi avremo agito||We will have acted|
|Voi avrete agito||Y’all will have acted|
|Loro avranno agito||They will have acted|
There are some irregular verbs in the past participle, which need to be memorized. Here is a list of common irregular past participle:
|Accendere (to turn on)||acceso|
|Aprire (to open)||aperto|
|Bere (to drink)||bevuto|
|Chiedere (to ask)||chiesto|
|Chiudere (to close)||chiuso|
|Correggere (to correct)||corretto|
|Cuocere (to cook)||cotto|
|Dipingere (to paint)||dipinto|
|Dire (to say)||detto|
|Discutere (to discuss)||discusso|
|Dividere (to divide)||diviso|
|Fare (to do)||fatto|
|Leggere (to read)||letto|
|Morire (to die)||morto|
|Perdere (to lose)||perso|
|Permettere (to allow)||permesso|
|Piangere (to cry)||pianto|
|Porre (to put, to set)||posto|
|Prendere (to take)||preso|
|Promettere (to promise)||promesso|
|Rispondere (to reply)||risposto|
|Rompere (to break)||rotto|
|Scegliere (to choose)||scelto|
|Scrivere (to write)||scritto|
|Soffrire (to suffer)||sofferto|
|Succedere (to happen)||successo|
|Tradurre (to translate)||tradotto|
|Vedere (to see)||visto|
|Venire (to come)||venuto|
|Vincere (to win)||vinto|
|Vivere (to live)||vissuto|
|Volgere (to turn)||volto|
How to choose the auxiliary verb?
Choose the same auxiliary verb as you would for the passato prossimo and trapassato prossimo, depending on the verb expressing the meaning of the sentence.
Using auxiliary verb avere
Most transitive verbs, like mangiare (to eat), usare (to use), provocare (to provoke), vedere (to look) and dire (to say), take “avere” as their auxiliary verb.
Alessio ti avrà anche provocato, ma non ci sono scusanti per come ti sei comportato – Alessio may have provoked you, but there are no excuses for how you have behaved
Remember that, though intransitive, dormire (to sleep), rispondere (to answer), viaggiare (to travel) and vivere (to live) will be paired with the auxiliary verb avere.Avrò dormito sì e no tre ore in tutto – I must have slept no more than three hours in all
Using auxiliary verb essere
You have to use the auxiliary verb “essere” with:
Some of the verbs that take “essere” as their auxiliary verb are:
|Cadere||to fall, to drop|
|Nascere||to be born|
|Partire||to leave, to depart|
|Tornare||to come back, to return|
|Uscire||to go out, to exit|
As with the passato prossimo and trapassato prossimo, when you use the auxiliary verb “essere,” the past participle must agree with the subject in gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural).
Tua cugina Arianna sarà stata felicissima quando ha ottenuto la promozione – Your cousin Arianna must have been very happy when she got the promotionSaranno state le dieci quando Benedetta è tornata – It must have been 10pm when Benedetta returned
Which phrases are typically used with the futuro anteriore?
Here is a list of marker words that are usually used with the futuro anteriore in Italian:
Partiremo appena Giorgio ci avrà chiamato – We will leave as soon as Giorgio will have called us
Quando avrai compiuto 18 anni, avrai il diritto al voto – When you will have turned 18, you will be eligible to vote
Massimiliano si sarà laureato entro la fine dell’anno – Massimiliano will have graduated by the end of this year
Tra una settimana Vittorio avrà già trovato un’altra ragazza – In a week Vittorio will have a new girlfriend already
Probabilmente avrai pensato che fossi impazzita – You must have thought I had lost my mind
Dopo che avrò finito gli studi, mi trasferirò negli Stati Uniti – When I will have finished my studies, I will move to the United States
Anche se il bambino avrà già imparato a dormire da solo, avrà comunque bisogno di sentirsi protetto – Even if your baby will have already learned to sleep alone, he will still need to feel protected
Chissà quanto vi sarete divertiti a Las Vegas! – You must have had so much fun in Las Vegas!
How do futuro anteriore and futuro semplice work together?
As mentioned previously, the Italian future perfect tense and the simple future tense are often used together in the same sentence.
In this type of construction, the future event expressed by the futuro anteriore is going to happen before the action you are referring to with the futuro semplice.
Quando avrai finito il risotto, ti porterò il dolce – When you will have finished your risotto, I will give you dessert
Non appena avrò finito di fare le pulizie, verrò a trovarti – As soon as I will have finished cleaning, I will come and see youAs you can see, the futuro anteriore describes a future event that is in the past from the perspective of a later future event. In other words, it is a “past future event.”
The futuro anteriore in spoken Italian
Most native Italian speakers tend to use other workarounds to avoid using the futuro anteriore, especially in casual, informal conversation.
Common alternatives are:
Ti daremo conferma dopo che avremo verificato che c’è ancora disponibilità / Ti daremo conferma dopo aver verificato che c’è ancora disponibilità – We will confirm once we have verified that there is still availability
Non ho più visto Daniela, probabilmente si sarà trasferita / Non ho più visto Daniela, forse si è trasferita – I haven’t seen Daniela anymore, she must have moved
To sum up...
Dopo che avrà finito la scuola, Melania andrà a vivere a Dublino – When Melania will have finished high school, she will move to Dublin
Domani a quest’ora la sentenza sarà già stata emessa – By this time tomorrow the sentence will have already been pronounced
Armando non è andato al lavoro ieri, sarà stato malato – Armando didn’t go to work yesterday, he must have been ill
Quella moto sarà costata una fortuna – That motorbike must have cost an arm and a leg
Practice as much as you can until you get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect!
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