Learn the future with Joe Dassin

Whenever I teach the future tense, this 1975 ballad springs to my mind. It is quite cheesy, so I generally keep it to myself. In French we would say that it is à l’eau de rose: which roughly translates as ‘flavoured with rose water’ to mean that it is overly sentimental. However, I thought it would be interesting to share it here. For grammatical purposes. And also because it was very successful in its time and is a classic of French pop culture. Hence why it keeps popping into my mind…
Joe Dassin was an American-born French singer, who was immensely famous in France from 1964 until he suddenly died from a heart attack in 1980.
L’été indien is french for ‘indian summer’ and in this song he recollects happy moments with a woman he has now lost sight of. He remembers a romantic walk on a beach, one autumn morning (the indian summer in question). On that day, he was looking into the future and pledging his eternal love to her. Which is where our future tense comes in!
So if this song is not to everyone’s taste it is, at least, perfect for navigating between tenses: the first couplet starts in the past, the refrain moves into the future before settling back into the present at the end.
Have a listen:



Every single verb ends in ‘ras’ or ra’ and is therefore in the future tense, which for simplicity’s sake, we can also refer to as the ‘will tense’.

On ira où tu voudras, quand tu voudras
Et on s’aimera encore, lorsque l’amour sera mort
Toute la vie sera pareille à ce matin
Aux couleurs de l’été indien


On ira: We will go
ou tu voudras: where you will want. In English we would stay in the present and say ‘where you want’, this is also possible in French but in this song, everything is in the future.
quand tu voudras: where you will want
et on s’aimera encore: and we will love each other
Lorsque l’amour sera mort: when love will be dead
toute la vie sera pareille à ce matin: all of life will be like this morning
aux couleurs de l’été indien: in the colours of the indian summer