Learn everything about the future tense and its usage in the Polish language using many practical examples!
This page is part of the chapter “Polish Grammar: Tenses“.
This article is under development. It may still contain presentational or spelling errors that will be resolved shortly.
Future tense (czas przyszły)
Imperfective verbs (czasowniki niedokonane)
The future tense refers to activities that will be performed in the future or planned to. In the Polish language real future tense can be formed using imperfective verbs only. These verbs represent the action as being not finished, in a continuous way, without referring to its beginning, its end or its results. The future tense thus is used to describe any event that is not defined to be completed. The most important thing in the whole sentence is the appearance of something that will happen in the future, but without any time limits. Consider following example Jutro będziemy słuchać muzyki (“Tomorrow we will listen to music”) which does not explicitly identify period of the action or from when to when the music will be listened to.
So similar to the German language, the future tense in the Polish form is also complex as it consists of two components:
The conjugated form of the verb być (be) in present tense
|On, ona, ono||będzie||Oni/one||będą|
The infinitive, which remains unchanged for all grammatical persons or gender related forms of the verbs with -ł (for masculine), -ła /la (for feminine), -ło (for neuter) or -ły /-li (for plural) endings.
Verb forms are similar to the past tense form of the singular and plural third grammatical persons
The position of the infinitive in the future tense form is, unlike the German language, relatively free. It may therefore vary from one form to another. The infinitive can be moved forward or back accordingly, but does not need to be positioned directly after the conjugated form of the verb być (be). The subsequent position is more common for spoken language. When using the -ł/l participle, the supplementary verb participle must always precede the past participle.
The future tense example using the verb pisać (write)
|będę pisać/pisał||będę pisać/pisała||–|
|będziesz pisać/pisał||będziesz pisać/pisała||–|
|będzie pisać/pisał||będzie pisać/pisała||będzie pisać/pisało|
|Masculine and neuter||Feminine|
|będziemy pisać/pisali||będziemy pisać/pisały|
|będziecie pisać/pisali||będziecie pisać/pisały|
|będą pisać/pisali||będą pisać/pisały|
As you can see in this example, the past tense forms in the Polish language are also used for the formation of the future tense with their gender-specific suffixes. As the phenomenon is closely related to the creation of the past tense, it is precisely descibed in the Past tense in the Polish language chapter.
- Jutro będę się uczyć.
Tomorrow I will be learning.
- W weekend będziemy się razem przygotowywać do klasówki.
On the weekend we will be preparing to the class test.
- Moja siostra będzie w wakacje pracowała w restauracji.
My sister will be working in the restaurant during summer holidays .
- Jutro będziemy się z tego śmiać.
Tomorrow we will be laughing about it.
The above examples show that the creation of the future tense in the Polish language is very simple. It basically relies only on knowledge of inflection scheme of the verb być. Use of the gender-related variant with the participles is equally common. Both versions are equally accurate and used commonly. The only difference is that the first variant omits gender differences and thus is not always clear. The second variant is specifically tied to the gender, so you know immediately whether women or men are spoken about.
Aspects of future tense forms of perfective verbs (tryb czasowników i czas przyszły czasowników dokonanych)
A special feature of all slavic languages and also a great difficulty for the learners is the grammatical aspect of Polish verbs. Almost all Polish verbs have two aspects, a perfective and imperfective. It is a feature that did not exist in German or English languages and therefore it’s difficult to demonstrate.
The imperfective and its future tense form were described above. Future tense forms of perfective verbs is similar to Present tense and is used for all statements in the future, which are meant to be finished and not be carried in the continuous way. You can speak in this context about the so-called simple future tense.
Sample sentences to demonstrate this:
- Jutro pójdziemy na zakupy.
Tomorrow we will be going shopping / Tomorrow we will go shopping.
- Jutro kupię sobie nowe buty
Tomorrow I’ll buy new shoes / Tomorrow I’m going to buy new shoes.
In German and English languages such statement is expressed either with the future tense or even more frequently using the present tense.
For non-native speakers it is incredibly hard to tell at first glance whether it is a perfective or imperfective verb. Therefore, it is always advisable to look up in a dictionary, where the aspect of specific verb is noted. Advanced learners can distinguish both forms by details, like prefixes or suffixes of verbs. In many cases it is possible to differntiate perfective and imperfective verbs by additional prefix (wy-, po-, na-, od-, do-, za-), for example:
|uczyć się||nauczyć się||learn|
In the German grammar the phenomenon of prefixes is well known (for example: schreiben – aufschreiben), but it can only in small part be compared with aspects of verbs in the Polish language.
Another feature that distinguishes the perfective and the imperfective are endings of verbs. They are often (but not always) basis of distinguish (but not always) between perfective and imperfective forms of verbs. Many verbs ending with -ić are perfective and ending with -ować imperfective (refer to examples shown below).
Examples of perfective and imperfective verbs:
|uczyć się||nauczyć się||learn|
Some verbs may have two possible prefixes (for example napisać/zapisać), others are reflexive verbs (uczyć/nauczyć się).
Exceptions: There are verbs known for complex changes in their forms or even having no resemblance to basic form like:
Sample sentences for the future tense of perfect and imperfect verbs:
- Jutro pójdę do szkoły.
Tomorrow I will go to school.
- Jutro będę chodzić po mieście.
Tomorrow I will be going to walk around city.
- Jutro będę czytać książkę.
Tomorrow I will be reading book.
- Jutro przeczytam tą książkę do końca.
Tomorrow I will read this book to the end.
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