Ukrainian has two forms of future tense:

  1. буду + Infinitive;
  2. using suffix -му.

Many people told me that both are equivalent, however I've seen those who would prefer one of these (usually, the second one).

What is the rule of thumb for using the future tense in Ukrainian?


5 Answers 5


If you want to emphasize on "буду", e.g. you want to explicitly state that you will perform the action of writing, you should prefer that version. E.g. "Батьки сказали щоб я йому більше не писала - а я буду писати все одно." You can still use "писатиму" in this case, but I think it places lesser emphasis on the will to write.

Another consideration is that "писатиму" sounds more poetic, like something one would use in a book or poem, but not necessarily in a daily "vulgar" communication. Perhaps because it does not have specific equivalent in russian language - and due to significant russification in Ukraine versions that do have russian equivalents ("буду писати" in this case) are often used more frequently in everyday communication (along with суржик).

As for "напишу" - this is not the same as "писатиму" чи "буду писати". The latter may indicate one-time action ("Я буду писати листа зараз", "Я писатиму листа зараз") or an indefinitely continuing/reoccurring action ("Я писатиму йому", "Я буду писати йому"). While "напишу" specifically indicates one time action ("Я зараз напишу листа", "Я завтра напишу листа") - this is actually a "completed" form (доконаний вид дієслова) of a verb "писатиму". "Completed" or "accomplished" forms of verbs in Ukrainian point to an action that will be wholly completed at specified time, and thus will occur specifically once - as an opposite for "incomplete/unaccomplished" forms (недоконаний вид дієслова), that, as already stated, may indicate indefinitely continuing/reoccurring action.

  • 2
    Замість "буду писати все одно" можна просто сказати "а я все одно писатиму", тоді "все одно" стоїть першим, значить, акцент на цей вираз.
    – P. Vowk
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 20:25
  • Uncommonness of -му form in spoken language is not true, since it is shorter and easier to say. Probably it may be less used by Russian-to-Ukrainian bilinguists (since they copy Russian grammar), but native Ukrainian speakers with Russian influence in their language use both -му and буду. However, -му is less common in Western dialects (which are also less russified).
    – PY PY
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 6:40

Both variants are indeed equivalent. You can freely use any in colloquial speech and that won't sound weird.

As for the part if one of variants is used more often and why, I have my own theory for it. I believe the first option is used more often because:

  1. It might be simpler to pronounce in case of lengthy verbs.
  2. Most Ukrainian-speaking people in Ukraine are also fluent in Russian and that may influence how they speak in Ukrainian. And in Russian you have the first option only.

There are three ways to form future tense in Ukrainian.

  1. стану писати - note the use of a modal or auxiliary verb indicating motion - стану, почну, хочу
  2. писатиму - this one is a ligature from a historical form писати иму, and you can still see a form with the words swapped in some Western dialects: меш писати can be heard in use instead of писатимеш
  3. писав буду - this form can still be encountered in some dialects, along with more widespread construction of the past tense писав був

The first two are the normative ways of forming future tense. There is no semantic difference between the two forms.

  • I don't think I have heard the word стану in future tense as show here in 1. Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 19:07
  • There's some difference between стану писати, почну писати ("I'll start writing", meaning that process wasn't started yet), хочу писати ("I want to write", actually it is not a king of future tence), писатиму, буду писати ("I'll write" or "I will be writing", it is not supposed whether the process was started or not). Буду писати and писатиму are equal. Буду писав is dialect-only form (unlike буду писати which is common in literary language).
    – PY PY
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 6:23

Both forms are correct. My personal opinion is that -му is more formal when буду is more informal, but that may differ in different regions of Ukraine. There is also a variant напишу which is again used differently in different regions. All the three variant are correct.

  • 1
    Why do you think both are correct? Is there any reason for that? Does any scholar book mention it? Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 1:26

Well, yes. You can use both, there are 2 forms in grammar: "що буду робити?" and "що робитиму?". They both describe the continuous future action. The short variant is somewhat "more Ukrainian", as far as first one is also used in other languages of this group (i.e. Russian or Polish). But yes, you can use both of them and you will not only understood, but you will be correct as well.

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