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The Periphrastic Future Tense: ir + a + infinitive

written by: Eric W. Vogt • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/5/2012

This lesson shows how to say what someone is going to do or what is going to happen. A periphrastic tense is simply a compound verb construction, a verb phrase instead of one single verb. This is the Spanish construction that corresponds to the English construction "...going to...."

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    The Spanish Periphrastic Future Tense

    How to talk about what you're going to do

    The term periphrastic future tense is simply a way of saying that the verb is expressed by more than one word – a verb phrase. English has a periphrastic future tense also. We use it all the time when we say such sentences as these:

    I am going to eat soon.

    She is going to drive to the beach.

    We are going to leave this afternoon.

    In the examples above, the periphrastic future tense consists of the forms of the verb to be, conjugated according to the subjects (I, she and we), plus the gerund going followed by the infinitives to eat, to drive and to leave.

    This structure in Spanish is commonly known as the ir + a + infinitive. Just as the English verb to be needs to be conjugated to correspond to its subject, as in the examples above, the Spanish verb ir (to go) must be conjugated in the present tense to correspond to its subject. This verb is irregular:

    voy vamos

    vas vais

    va van

    The preposition a is not translatable in this structure, but it needs to be there. And the infinitive, whatever it is, remains an infinitive, just as in English. That is, in this construction, only the verb ir is conjugated, just as only the verb to be is conjugated in its English counterpart.

    As far as usage is concerned, you’ll be glad to know that it is used exactly as its English counterpart, the one that English speakers in the USA nearly always pronounce as gunna…!

    Let’s translate the English examples above into Spanish. Notice, in passing, that when the subject can only be one person and number because of the verb form, the subject does not to be stated. Click on these sentences to hear them:

    1. Voy a comer pronto.

    2. Ella va a manejar a la playa.

    3. Vamos a salir esta tarde.

    Speaking of lunch, perhaps you are interested in trying Aztec recipes.

    ¿Vas a comer pronto? ¡Espero que sí!

    For practice with the periphrastic future, please go to the exercises on the next page. After you have finished Set A, check your work with its corresponding answer key, below. Then proceed in like manner through the next two sets of exercises.

    ¡Buena suerte, amigos!

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    Spanish Periphrastic Future Tense Quiz A with Key

    I. Give the proper form of the verb IR according to the following subject nouns and pronouns.

    1. ella

    2. yo

    3. usted

    4. Juanita y Teresita

    5. tú

    6. mis padres

    7. Juan y Marta

    8. nosotros

    9. ustedes

    10. los niños

    II. Match the following Spanish sentence with their correct Spanish translation .

    1. Sus amigos van a correr una milla. a. Are you going to visit her?

    2. Mi mamá va a comprar pan. b. We’re going to see the movie.

    3. ¿Vas a visitarla? c. My mom is going to buy bread.

    4. Vamos a ver la película. d. You’re going to arrive by train.

    5. Van a llegar por tren. e. Her friends are going to run a mile.

    III. Translate the following English sentences into Spanish, using the periphrastic future.

    1. Are they going to come to the party?

    2. Is he going to eat the pizza?

    3. You are going to fall down.

    4. I am going to go to sleep.

    5. He is going to study Spanish.

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    KEY to Exercise Set ASpanish Periphrastic Future Tense

    I. Give the proper form of the verb IR according to the following subject nouns and pronouns.

    1. va

    2. voy

    3. va

    4. van

    5. vas

    6. van

    7. van

    8. vamos

    9. van

    10. van

    II. Match the following Spanish sentence with their correct Spanish translation .

    1. e.

    2. c.

    3. a.

    4. b.

    5. d.

    III. Translate the following English sentences into Spanish, using the periphrastic future.

    1. ¿Van a venir a la fiesta?

    2. ¿Va a comer la pizza?

    3. Vas a caerte (or Ud. va a caerse, or Uds. van a caerse or Vais a caeros.)

    4. Voy a dormirme. (Remember that dormirse is to fall asleep. Dormir is to be asleep.)

    5. Va a estudiar español.

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    Spanish Periphrastic Future Tense Quiz Set B with Key

    I. Give the proper form of the verb IR according to the following subject nouns and pronouns.

    1. ellos

    2. yo

    3. tú

    4. Juanita y Teresita

    5. tú y ella

    6. ellas

    7. los señores Gómez

    8. tú y yo

    9. la Sra. Ilustre

    10. mis primos

    II. Match the following Spanish sentence with their correct Spanish translation .

    1. Los chicos van a subir el árbol. a. He is going to write a letter.

    2. Mi padre va a pescar. b. They are going to fall in love.

    3. ¿Vas a ir a bailar? c. The kids are going to climb the tree.

    4. Va a escribir una carta. d. My dad is going to fish.

    5. Ellos van a enamorarse. e. Are you going to go dancing?

    III. Translate the following English sentences into Spanish, using the periphrastic future.

    1. Are you going to send the gift?

    2. He and I are going to travel to Spain.

    3. Why are you going to do that?

    4. She is going to make a cake.

    5. We are going to swim.

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    Exercise Set B KEYSpanish Periphrastic Future Tense

    I. Give the proper form of the verb IR according to the following subject nouns and pronouns.

    1. van

    2. voy

    3. vas

    4. van

    5. van (or vais)

    6. van

    7. van

    8. vamos

    9. va

    10. van

    II. Match the following Spanish sentence with their correct Spanish translation .

    1. c.

    2. d.

    3. e.

    4. a.

    5. b.

    III. Translate the following English sentences into Spanish, using the periphrastic future.

    1. ¿Vas a enviar el regalo? (or Va, Vais or Van; also mandar instead of enviar)

    2. Vamos a viajar a España.

    3. ¿Por qué vas a hacer eso? (or va, vais or van)

    4. Va a preparar un pastel.

    5. Vamos a nadar.

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    Spanish Periphrastic Future Quiz Set C with Key

    I. Give the proper form of the verb IR according to the following subject nouns and pronouns.

    1. él

    2. el caballo

    3. mis abuelas

    4. mis abuelos

    5. Juanito

    6. yo

    7. tu perro

    8. Tomás y Enrique

    9. las chicas

    10. su tía

    II. Match the following Spanish sentence with their correct Spanish translation .

    1. Va a perder el partido. a. She is going to work tonight.

    2. Va a trabajar esta noche. b. You are going to look for the papers.

    3. ¿Vas a llamarme? c. I’m going to investigate the matter.

    4. Van a buscar los papeles. d. Are you going to call me?

    5. Voy a investigar el asunto. e. She’s going to lose the game.

    III. Translate the following English sentences into Spanish, using the periphrastic future (ir plus a plus an infinitive).

    1. Is she going to find the ring?

    2. They and I are going to go shopping.

    3. I am going to learn Spanish.

    4. She and Tomás are going to fix the car.

    5. We are going to make the rice.

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    Exercise Set C KEY Spanish Periphrastic Future Tense

    I. Give the proper form of the verb IR according to the following subject nouns and pronouns.

    1. va

    2. va

    3. van

    4. van

    5. va

    6. voy

    7. va

    8. van

    9. van

    10. va

    II. Match the following Spanish sentence with their correct Spanish translation .

    1. e.

    2. a.

    3. d.

    4. b.

    5. c.

    III. Translate the following English sentences into Spanish, using the periphrastic future (ir plus a plus an infinitive).

    1. ¿Va a encontrar la sortija?

    2. Vamos a ir de compras.

    3. Voy a aprender español.

    4. Ella y Tomás van a arreglar el auto.

    5. Vamos a preparar el arroz.

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