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I have across this, in a recent conversation with an educationalist. During our conversation regarding higher education; He said, "you will have to do that".

Is it the right phrase? What is the difference between these two statements?

  1. You will have to do that
  2. You have to do that (simply)

Any specific context, when one must be using each one of those.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Will generally speaks to the future, so:

  1. "You will have to do that" implies that at some point in the future, it will be required, and that it isn't required now.
  2. "You have to do that" implies current, and is a requirement now, whether that requirement continues to be present in the future is unspoken.
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You will have to do that

This is the future tense. You will need to.

If you want to lose weight, you will have to eat less or exercise more.

You have to do that

This is the present tense. You need to/ you must.

To lose weight, you have to eat less or exercise more.

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Grammatically speaking, he should have chosen from a choice of:

  1. "You must do that" to convey strong support
  2. "You should do that" to convey weak support
  3. "You ought to do that" to convey moderate support

"You have to do that" is a command, technically. It can be used to denote very strong support and American English I think we often forget the words must, should and ought to are choices. I do.

"You will have to do that" is a command but in future tense. In this case I feel like the meaning is very weak support or diversion, possibly mocking. Most often someone would choose the former. Tone is very important and context here, though.

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Obviously, some future action is being said to be essential (or highly desirable), at least for a specified result. If there is an obvious distancing to some future point, 'will' becomes more sensible.

However, there are two other usages of the 'will' form.

(b) As a hedge ('You will have to do that', with 'will' unstressed, sounds less of a command, more of a pointing out of a sensible course of action).

(c) As an emphasiser (You will have to do that).

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There are two conditions:

If there is a specific thing in conversion for him, you can say, you will have to do that. and if thing is common which is applied for everybody, you can say, you have to do that.

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