Serbian Teacher Explains: Future Tense in the Serbian Language

A hand holding a tarot card and a table covered with tarot cards

Who knows what the future holds? No one, but it’s sure fun to think about it. If you’re studying Serbian, discussing what’s to come is also a perfect way to practice your conversational skills. And the best part? You only need to get a hang of the future tense in the Serbian language.

So, to assist you on your journey to fluency, we put together an easy-to-follow guide on the Serbian future tense with plenty of examples. Take a look!

The Serbian Future Tense - Futur

The future tense in Serbian is futur. It’s a versatile tense, so just by learning it, you’ll be able to talk about all things future. Whether you want to discuss tomorrow’s weather or retirement plans 30 years later, futur will cover it.

Before we get into details, let’s see some examples:

Sutra će padati kiša.

(It’ll rain tomorrow.)

 Živeću u Španiji kada ostarim.

(I’m going to live in Spain when I grow old.)

 Poludeću.

(I’ll go crazy.)

 Now that you know what the future tense in Serbian looks like, it’s time to learn how to form it.

A woman in front of a brick wall, covering her face with a book.
Poludeću od srpske gramatike 😖

Formation of the Future Tense in the Serbian Language

Firstly, here’s the formula for building the future tense:

 present tense of the verb hteti (short form) + infinitive

Then, let’s change the auxiliary verb hteti (to want) to fit the subject:

 

subject

long form

short form

Ja (I)

hoću

ću

Ti (you)

hoćeš

ćeš

On/ona/ono (he, she, it)

hoće

će

Mi (we)

hoćemo

ćemo

Vi (you)

hoćete

ćete

Oni/one/ona (they)

hoće

će

 

Next, it’s time to put together some sentences. So, let’s use the verb pevati (to sing) for some examples:

 

 

singular

plural

1.

Ja ću pevati.

Mi ćemo pevati.

2.

Ti ćeš pevati.

Vi ćete pevati.

3.

On/ona/ono će pevati.

Oni/one/ona će pevati.

 

Simple, right?

Now, you should know there’s another, shorter way to form the Future Tense in Serbian. We use the shorter form of the future tense whenever we start a sentence with a verb and not a subject. The subject is already implied in the auxiliary verb, so we can omit it, unless we really need to mention it. You will hear a short form of the future tense more frequently in Serbian than the longer form. This is because Serbian people often omit pronouns when speaking. Let’s see what the short form sounds like!

Short Form of the Serbian Future Tense

  • Verbs that end with -ti

 

For verbs that end with -ti, remove the ending (-ti) and attach the short form of hteti to the verb stem. Also, omit the subject:

Ja ću pevati. Pevaću.

 

singular

plural

1.

Pevaću.

Pevaćemo.

2.

Pevaćeš.

Pevaćete.

3.

Pevaće.

Pevaće.

 

  • Verbs that end with -ći

 

In the case of verbs that end with -ći, you don’t remove the ending. All you need to do is omit the subject and change the order of the auxiliary and main verb:

Ja ću ići.  Ići ću.

 

singular

plural

1.

Ići ću.

Ići ćemo.

2.

Ići ćeš.

Ići ćete.

3.

Ići će.

Ići će.

 

A towel, book, sunglasses, straw hat, and an orange on a sandy beach.
Ići ću na plažu sutra 🏖️
  • Verbs that end with -sti

 

This group is the trickiest, but only because there’s a sound change in the short form. Namely, -st- becomes -šć-.

 

For example, let’s see what happens with the verbs jesti (to eat) and pasti (to fall down).

 

Ja ću jesti. Ješću.

Ja ću pasti. Pašću.

 

 

singular

plural

1.

Ješću.

Ješćemo.

2.

Ješćeš.

Ješćete.

3.

Ješće.

Ješće.

Negative Form

To say that something won’t happen, or that you won’t do something in the future, all you need is the negative particle ne (attached to the auxilary verb hteti):

(ne + short form of hteti) + infinitive

For example, let’s take the verb spavati (to sleep).

 

singular

plural

1.

Neću spavati.

Nećemo spavati.

2.

Nećeš spavati.

Nećete spavati.

3.

Neće spavati.

Neće spavati.

 

A man with books in front of him and a coffee cup in his hand.
Neću spavati celu noć. Moram da učim futur.

Interrogative Form

If you thought the negative form was easy, the interrogative form is a walk in the park. To make a question, simply insert da li before the auxiliary verb:

da li + short form of hteti + infinitive

 

singular

plural

1.

Da li ću spavati?

Da li ćemo spavati?

2.

Da li ćeš spavati?

Da li ćete spavati?

3.

Da li će spavati?

Da li će spavati?

 

Other Ways to Talk about the Future

Yes, we did say that you only need one future tense to talk about the distant and immediate future, and it’s true. However, as Serbs use other ways to talk about the future, they’re worth mentioning.

1.Prezent:

We can use prezent (the present tense) for fixed schedules or plans. For instance:

Sutra radim ceo dan.

(I work the whole day tomorrow.)

Avion poleće za sat vremena.

(The plane will take off in an hour.)

 

2. Futur 2:

Futur 2 is another future tense that often goes with the ordinary future tense. Usually, we use it to talk about a future action that happens before, after, or during another future event. For example:

Kada budem imala novca, kupiću auto.

(When I have the money, I’ll buy a car.)

Ići ću u šetnju, ako ne bude padala kiša.

(I’ll take a walk if it doesn’t rain.)

Exercise

Lastly, here’s an exercise to check your understanding of the future tense in the Serbian language. After you fill in the blanks, check the answer key below the article.

  1. ___  ____ (ići) u park sutra. (We’ll go to the park tomorrow.)
  2. Ja  ___  _____ (pevati) u horu. (I’ll sing in a choir.)
  3. _____ (sesti) na klupu. (I’ll sit on the bench.)
  4. __  __  ___  ______  (raditi) sledeće nedelje? (Will you work next week?)
  5. ______ _______ (spavati) noćas. (We won’t be sleeping tonight.)

Practice the Future Tense in the Serbian Language

Now that we got the pesky grammar rules out of the way, you can move on to the fun part – putting the Future Tense in the Serbian language to use. All you need to do is make plans and discuss your future in Serbian. It’s that simple!

Also, don’t worry if you can’t remember all the rules immediately – the secret is in practice and repetition.

Finally, if you need a nudge in the right direction, our teachers will guide you on your way to mastering Serbian grammar points. Simply book our individual Serbian lessons and practice the Serbian future tense in a supportive environment!

Answer Key

  1. Ići ćemo
  2. ću pevati
  3. Sešću
  4. Da li ćeš raditi
  5. Nećemo spavati

2 Responses

  1. This is such a concise explanation. Could you also explain the ‘Southern Serbian’ way using da. For example Ja ću da idem or its use in dative verbs like svidati please?

    1. Zdravo Matt! The construction with the auxiliary verb hteti + da + present tense is very common in conversational Serbian. For example, “Ja ću da idem na žurku.” (=I will go to the party). However, we left it out of this article on purpose as this is not a standardized, grammatically correct form of the future tense in Serbian. As for the verb sviđati se, the conjunction da is used after this verb to connect that verb to another verb. For example, Sviđa mi se da se šetam po kiši. (= I like walking in the rain.) Does this answer your questions?

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