How to speak in the future tense in Igbo

Welcome back!

In today’s lesson, we will be focusing on how to create sentences in the future tense in Igbo. Remember in one of our previous lessons, we looked at how to create sentences in the simple past tense in Igbo?

This only took a few steps,

The same goes for the future tense in Igbo.

The Igbo Future tense

The future tense as the name implies refers to something that will happen or is going to happen in the future.

For example in English we have:

I will go to school.

He/she will dance.

We will eat.

The examples above show things that will happen in the future and all use the word “will”.

Now, we are going to look at how to make sentences in the future tense in Igbo.

The future tense marker in Igbo is “gà-” . This “gà-’” is essentially the Igbo version of the word ‘will’ in the English future tense.

You just add it to the front of the verb to put it in the future tense.

Let’s take a look at some of the examples below:

Putting verbs into the future tense in Igbo

VerbEnglishFuture markerFuture tenseEnglish
àgágogà-gà-àgáwill go
èríeatgà-gà-èríwill eat
èmédogà-gà-èméwill do
àṅụ́buygà-gà-àṅụ́will buy
àkpọ́callgà-gà-àkpọ́will call

Now let’s look at some example sentences in the future tense in Igbo

Creating sentences in Igbo in the future tense

Example 1

Chima gà- + àgá ụ́lọ̀ákwụ́kwọ́ = Chima gà-àgá ụ́lọ̀ákwụ́kwọ́

Chima will + go to school        = Chima will go to school

Example 2

Ànyị́  gà- + èrí òsìkápá =  Ànyị́  gà-èrí òsìkápá

We will + eat rice       = We will eat rice

Example 3

Ọ́ gà- + èmé yá      = Ọ́ gà-èmé yá

He/she will + do it = He/she will do it

Example 4

Há gà- + àṅụ́ ḿmányá ọ̀tọ́bị́rị́bị́rị́ = Há gà-àṅụ́ ḿmányá ọ̀tọ́bị́rị́bị́rị́

They will + drink soft drink           = They will drink soft drink

Example 5

Ńnà ḿ gà- + àkpọ́ ḿ      = Ńnà ḿ gà-àkpọ́ m

My father will + call me = My father will call me

The special case of “I” in Igbo

To form future tense sentences in Igbo using the pronoun ‘Ḿ’ which means ‘I’ in Igbo, you use a slightly different method to the one you’ve just seen above.

To form future tense using ‘Ḿ’, the ‘gà-’ which means ‘will’, takes a different shape. A prefix ‘á’ is added to the verb and the hyphen at the end of the ‘gà-’ is removed, then the verb is followed by the pronoun ‘m’ written separately to form ‘I will’.

That might all sound a little confusing but the example below will make it a lot clearer,

Á        +  gà    m    =        Ágà m

Prefix +  will   I     =        I will

Just to be sure that you’ve got it, here are some more example sentences with the special case of “I” in Igbo.

Example 1

Á        +  gà    m     àgá ụ́kà        =       Ágà m àgá ụ́kà

Prefix +  will   I     go to church =       I will go to church


Á        +  gà    m     èrí       ńrī       =       Ágà m èrí ńrī

Prefix +  will   I      eat      food    =       I will eat food

Example 3

Á        +  gà    m     èmé    yá        =       Ágà m èmé yá

Prefix +  will   I       do       it         =       I will do it

Example 4

Á        +  gà    m     àṅụ́      ḿmírī     =       Ágà m àṅụ́ ḿmírī

Prefix +  will   I       drink   water     =       I will drink water

Example 5

Á        +  gà    m      àkpọ́    gị           =       Ágà m àkpọ́ gị

Prefix +  will   I       call       you       =       I will call you

That’s it for today!

Make sure you keep practicing creating Igbo sentences in the future tense, to be sure that you’ve got the hang of it.

Ka ọ dị!