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I am struggling on a sentence here. Let me show u what I come up with;

Would I fail if I won't study?

In this sentence I am trying to indicate a possibility but I am not sure if I use this part correct : if I won't study

which tense should I be using there?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The sentence you're looking for is:

Will I fail if I don't study?

The if-clause in English takes an ordinary present-tense verb in this construction. This is a present conditional, which indication a condition about a present or future action.

You could also write this:

Would I fail if I didn't study?

This indicates a hypothetical condition. If you actually want to indicate a counter-factual condition about a past event, you need to use the perfect:

Would I have failed if I hadn't studied?

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2  
The "hypothetical" form is properly called the subjunctive. –  Ben Voigt May 29 '11 at 13:22

It's rare to use the future tense with if. Speakers would use either the past tense or present as follows:

Would I fail if I didn't study?

Will I fail if I don't study?

It's more common to use the present tense ("don't study") when the main clause has "will" (future).

Of thes two alternatives, the first tends to indicat a more "hypothetical" suggestion: it's asking about possible universes, whether or not you actually have any intention of studying. In the second case, there's a presupposition that you're actually considering studying.

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Since no one else so far has actually addressed "won't" (the act of willfully declining to do a thing), I'll just add that the proper construction using that particular word would be:

Will I fail if I won't study?

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