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For expressing an intention for the future (I am going to...) of course we use the construction: ir (conjugated) + a + infinitive. I have seen and used the present and imperfect tenses for this purpose-- Voy a comprar... Ibas a comprar... etc. Today a teacher told me that one could also use the simple future of ir in the "ir a" construction, eg. iré a comprar... This seemed completely weird to me and redundant; I asked her: Why wouldn't I just say Compraré...? So my question is: Which tenses of "ír" are permissible in the "ir + a + infinitive" construction? Thank you

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    Check this link. In short, all tenses of "ír" are permissible.
    – Cicero
    Aug 15 '15 at 2:36
  • Both Compraré un libro and Voy a comprar un libro means that you are going to buy a book in the future. Situations: You're outside with a friend of you and then you see a guy in a great car, you may think algún día compraré uno, algún día voy a comprar uno. You are in your house and in the need carrots, you would say: ya vuelvo, voy a comprar zanahorias or ya vuelvo, compraré zanahorias. For the "ir a" construction, guifa's answer is right. Aug 15 '15 at 16:54
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You can use the ir a [inf] construction in any tense (iba/fui/iré a nadar), mood (que vaya/fuera/fuese/fuere a nadar) or even aspect (ha ido / está yendo a nadar), although some are certainly vastly more common than others.

While using it in the indicative future might seem redundant, it can express an ordering of future events, effectively like the difference between simple preterite and pluperfect.

That said, just because you have ir a [inf] doesn't mean you're indicating an future action. Especially in some forms (future, preterite) and always for others (imperative/exhortative subjunctive), it's not the periphrastic future construction, but rather plain ir with a prepositional phrase indicating purpose or intent (notice how Vete/andate/idos/váya(n)se a nadar works).

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