Choosing the correct tense

ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Choosing the correct tense

Bonjour Madame Cécile !

Two sentences are given as->

1.Quand vous voyagerez en France, vous serez très occupé.

When you travel to France, you'll be very busy.

2.Quand ils arriveront, tu iras les accueillir. 

When they arrive, you will go and welcome them.

Here, I would like to raise a question as to why one cannot use Le Futur Antérieur in the clauses after Quand in the two sentences mentioned above. Why are both the clauses using Le Futur Simple ?

One action precedes the other in the future so why not Le Futur Antérieur ?

What does Le Futur Simple in both the clauses signify ?

Merci encore ! 

Bonne Fête Nationale Française !

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Shrey, 

I think you are confusing two situations and will try to explain.

The cases you quote all talk about events in the future -

when you do something (which uses a future tense after 'quand' in French), you will do this and that ... all things that will happen at some time in the future

I will give you two cases when the futur antérieur is necessary as in English:

When (by the time) I get home tonight , I will have worked 8 hours =

Quand je rentrerai chez moi ce soir,  j'aurai travaillé 8 heures 

Quand ils arriveront, nous aurons fini de préparer leur chambre = When (by the time) they arrive, we will have finished preparing their bedroom

(the bedroom is not ready but by the time they arrive, it will be done )

Hope this makes things clearer.

 

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Shrey,

I think you have got it ...

In a nutshell , the futur antérieur is used when you are talking about two specific actions in the future, one preceding the other in time,  making it in the past of that further future which is a very odd concept.

Alan’s comments are interesting but I think the English translations discrepancies are because of the fact that conjunctions of time like when behave differently in English from their French equivalents.

Chris, thanks for the timeline , I used to use one to explain what the tenses meant in real terms when teaching face to face.

Shrey, it is not a tense which you will use often so don’t worry too much about it. I don’t think I have ever heard it used in English.

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Just adding how I overcame my own difficulties with this:

Any kind of past tense refers to things that have already happened as viewed from your position. The "future past tense", i.e., le futur antérieur, is a tense where the person telling the story is positioning him at some time in the future. Viewed from that future vantage point you will need le futur antérieur if you speak about things that happened before that time.

-------^-------------------%----------------&--------------------> time

Imagine that the present tense is at the "^" character. Then you talk about something in the future which will happen at the "&" character. Viewed from that point, the event at "%" will have happened in the past.

To correctly convey this kind of temporal relationship you use le futur antérieur. BTW, it is very similar in English as well.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Cécile's examples are similar to English. But if you look at the related lesson, there are examples which don't work like English. Sometimes English uses the present tense, sometimes the present perfect.

Quand, lorsque, après que, une fois que + Le Futur Antérieur = 'when, after I've done in the future

For example:

Lorsqu'elle sera arrivée chez nous, la fête commencera.

When she arrives at our place, the party will start.

So I can understand why Shrey might have expected the Futur Antérieur in his second example.

ShreyA1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Madame Cécile , Monsieur Chris et Monsieur Alan !

From what I gather and comprehend from Madame Cécile’s explanation is that Le Futur Antérieur is used for the following reason ->

By the time one action will happen in the future , the other action in the future will already be completed .

Here, the action which will get already completed is le futur antérieur whereas the action happening afterwards (when the former becomes a part of the past) is le futur simple.

When both the actions mentioned in the sentence are events happening in a sequential manner (one after another) then one uses le futur simple.

Here, it refers to the sentences quoted by me in my original question which depict actions happening in series.

As for the sentence in the above mentioned lesson -Lorsqu’elle sera arrivée chez nous , la fête commencera.

If we view this sentence in the following way-

Quand la fête commencera, elle sera arrivée chez nous ! = When(by the time) the party starts, she will have arrived at our place.

This suggests a more comprehensive understanding. 

Madame , am I correct in my concepts or still there remains something unambiguous.

Merci encore !

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Regarding the example I mentioned earlier, I notice that Aurélie made this comment in answer to another question:

But there is a nuance between saying 'Quand elle sera arrivée' and 'Quand elle arrivera': in the first case, the actions are sequential (i.e. once she's arrived), whereas in the second case they are simultaneous (i.e. the minute she arrives...). 

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Cécile, I didn't think there were discrepancies in the English translations - I was replying to Chris who had suggested that the Futur Antérieur was similar in English. In this particular case it isn't.

I'm still unsure whether you think the Futur Antérieur should be used in Shrey's second example. If you look at your reply to Neville's question in this lesson ...

Conjugate devoir in Le Futur (future tense)

Choosing the correct tense

Bonjour Madame Cécile !

Two sentences are given as->

1.Quand vous voyagerez en France, vous serez très occupé.

When you travel to France, you'll be very busy.

2.Quand ils arriveront, tu iras les accueillir. 

When they arrive, you will go and welcome them.

Here, I would like to raise a question as to why one cannot use Le Futur Antérieur in the clauses after Quand in the two sentences mentioned above. Why are both the clauses using Le Futur Simple ?

One action precedes the other in the future so why not Le Futur Antérieur ?

What does Le Futur Simple in both the clauses signify ?

Merci encore ! 

Bonne Fête Nationale Française !

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level >>
Getting that for you now.