Teaching Italian: Making the Future Tense Simple
When teaching Italian, it is important to go over the different future tenses and when they are used.
- Future simple, such as canterò is the equivalent in English of “I will sing,” “I am going to sing” and “I am singing.”
- The future perfect, on the other hand, is equivalent in English to “I will have sung,” and uses the auxiliary verbs essere and avere.
- The future simple is also used for future uncertainty and suppositions. Point out to students that the present indicative tense is often used in place of the future simple.
- The key to teaching the future simple is the different endings, and how to conjugate with an irregular verb.
Regular verbs are the easiest to teach and should be the introduction to the future simple. Start by making four columns, with the labels “I.-are,” “II. -ere,” “IIIa. -ire” and “IIIb. -ire.” Point out that both -ire verbs in the future simple have the same endings, just like in passato remoto and imperfetto; also, note that regular -are and -ere verbs also have the same endings. However, writing out all four will help reinforce it. Remind students that to conjugate the verb, the infinite ending (-are, -ere and -ire) are removed, then the future simple endings are added.
Once the endings have been explained on the blackboard, have students practice conjugating verbs in the future simple. First, make flashcards for each of the endings; do not include the person in front of it:
Pass out a flashcard to each student; make sure everyone has one, so repeat an ending if needed. On the blackboard, write one regular verb from each group (examples: cantare, credere, sentire and finire). Ask each student to read their flashcard out loud, identify what person the verb is, and whether it is an -are, -ere or -ire ending. Then, ask the student to choose the appropriate verbs from the blackboard and conjugate it to match her flashcard. If you need to make duplicate flashcards, add another verb on the board so each student does a different conjugation.
Essere and Avere
Essere and avere are two irregular verbs that follow no pattern, and need their own lesson. This time, make two columns, with one verb at the top of the column. Point out to students that the endings of avere and essere in the future simple are the similar to the regular verb endings, but that avere and essere have irregular stems that slightly change the endings.
Check to see if the students comprehend the different ends. Make a worksheet that has the person (io, tu, lui/lei, noi, voi, loro) and then the stem (avr- and sar-). Ask the students to fill in the appropriate ending (-ò, -ai, -à, -emo, -ete, -anno) without looking in their notebooks. While they are working on the handout, check to see that they are answering correctly.
Irregular verb conjugations are the most difficult to teach, since they do not always follow a pattern. With future simple, some of the irregular verbs can be grouped into special categories. Point out to the students that there are five groups of irregular verbs:
1. verbs that drop the infinitive vowel
2. verbs that drop the infinitive vowel and change the "l" or "n" to "rr"
3. verbs that maintain the infinitive "a"
4. verbs that end with -care and -gare
5. verbs that end with -ciare and -gare
After explaining each irregular group, divide the class into five sections and assign them an irregular verb group. Each group should get a verb that falls into each category (examples: (1) andare, (2) rimanere, (3) dare, (4) spiegare and (5) annunciare); add more verbs if you prefer. Ask each group to conjugate each verb, and write it up on the blackboard under the appropriate category. After everyone has finished, review and correct.