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Teaching the Future Perfect Tense in Italian

By Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch

Now that your students understand the Italian future simple tense, teach them how to form the future perfect tense using Italian verbs. This Italian future perfect tense lesson plan goes over the formation of the tense, when to use it, and a comparison to the future simple tense.

Introducing the Future Perfect

Once students have a grasp of the Italian future simple tense, introduce them to the future perfect tense. Start by writing a sentence on the board, such as:

Quando avrò finito di mangiare, leggerò. (When I have finished eating, I will read)

Ask students to write the sentence down in their notebooks, underline each of the verbs, and note what tense each verb is conjugated in. Students should have avrò as the “future simple of avere,” finito as the “past participle of finire,” and leggerò as the “future simple of leggere.” If students are having a hard time identifying the different verb tenses, make a note of it to review those forms again. Point out to students that with the future perfect tense in Italian, essere or avere is put in the future simple, while the second verb is put in the past participle.

Explain to students that the future perfect tense is used in two ways:

  1. A future action that happens before another relevant action in the future.
  2. Expressing uncertainty or doubt about something that has already occurred.

Ask students which of the two usages the example fulfills. To illustrate the point, draw a timeline on the board. Ask students which action occurs first: eating or reading? Which happened second in the timeline? Point out to students that when a future perfect sentence follows the first incident, it can start with dopo che or quando.

Also practice using the future perfect tense and uncertainty with the students, making sure they understand the difference. Try the sentence:

Sarai stato stanco la settimana scorsa, dopo tre esami. (You must have been tired last week after three examinations)

Ask students: How is this sentence different from the first example? Make sure they can tell the difference between the two usages of the future perfect tense. At the end of the lesson, pass out a worksheet that gives examples of each type, and ask students to write down which condition the example fulfills.

Conjugating Future Simple of Essere and Avere

Since the future perfect tense uses both the future simple and the past participle, this is a good lesson to review both concepts. Start by reviewing the future simple tense. Point out to students that for the future perfect tense, they only use the conjugations of essere and avere. Take out the flashcards from the future simple lesson with the different endings (ò, ai, à, emo, ete, anno). Give the students one verb, either essere or avere, and holding up an ending, ask them to conjugate the verb. Make sure they have the right stems for each verb (avr- for avere and sar- for essere). You can also break the students into groups and challenge each team to conjugate the most verbs.

Reviewing the Past Participle

After going over the future simple with essere and avere, review the past participles. Remind students that the participle is the second verb they use in passato prossimo. Review from that lesson which verbs use essere and which use avere. Point out to students that just in passato prossimo, the endings of the past participle of essere-paired verbs change. Use flashcards of the irregular past participles, and ask students what the infinitive of the verb is. You can also give the students the infinitive and ask for the past participle. Like the review of the future simple with essere and avere, break the class up into groups and turn the flashcards into a game.