June 19, 2014 at 1:46 pm #35
In Dutch, there is no separate tense which expresses future events. However, it is possible to express that things are to happen in the future. This can be done in a number of different ways.
One way to express the future in Dutch is to use the present tense of the verb gaan (‘to go’), normally accompanied by an indication of a future time (e.g. the adverb ‘tomorrow’ or the adverbial phrase ‘in October’). Another way of expressing the future is to use the auxiliary verb zullen. Lastly, it is possible to express the future aspect by using any verb in the present tense with an indication of time.
Future with present tense of gaan
A way to express that something will definitely happen in the future, is to use the present tense of the verb gaan.
Usually an indication of time (e.g. an adverb of time) is also added, but this is not compulsory. In these cases, gaan is an auxiliary verb and therefore requires the infinitive of another verb. The time element is underlined in the examples below:
present tense future aspect Kenny maakt een rijsttafel.
Kenny is making a meal.
Kenny gaat vanavond een rijsttafel maken.
Kenny is going to make an Indonesian rice table tonight.
Alan zoekt een baantje.
Alan is looking for a job.
Alan gaat een baanje zoeken.
Alan is going to look for a job.
Wij kamperen in Schotland.
We camp in Scotland.
Wij gaan in de zomer in Schotland kamperen.
In the summer we are going camping in Scotland.
Ik ga naar de dierentuin.
I go to the zoo.
Morgen ga ik naar de dierentuin.
Tomorrow I’m going to the zoo.
Note that where the lexical verb is gaan, as in the last example, gaan does not need to be added again to express future (*Morgen ga ik naar de dierentuin gaan is incorrect, even though it can be heard in Flemish dialects).
Future with present tense of zullen
You can use zullen to talk about the future. Note that in a declarative sentence this use implies an element of promise, prediction or intention, rather than being a ‘simple’ future. In interrogatives however, it carries the meaning of a suggestion.
Zullen is irregular in the present tense:
ik zal I will / shall jij zal you (informal) will u zal / zult you (formal) will hij/zij zal he/she will wij zullen we will /shall jullie zullen you (informal) will u zal / zult you (formal) will zij zullen they will
Future with present tense of other verbs + time element
It is possible to express the future using the present tense of any lexical verb with a compulsory indication of the future (e.g. an adverb of time). The time element is underlined in the examples below:
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