English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've just passed one of numerous English grammar online tests. And I agree with all the mistakes I've made except this one:

You ______ put it back before the boss comes back, won't you?

  1. will have
  2. won't have
  3. will
  4. have

The system has marked my answer 3 as incorrect, and 1 as correct.

And I'm still confused about it, the phrase with 1 makes no sense for me.

So — is 1 really the correct answer? If so — why is it, and not 3?

share|improve this question
You are correct — 3 is the right answer. – user16269 Jul 2 '12 at 23:50
@David Wallace: great, thanks! PS: hi from welly )) PPS: could you please put it as an answer – zerkms Jul 2 '12 at 23:55
I couldn't possibly. – user16269 Jul 3 '12 at 0:21
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Strictly speaking all the first three could be considered "valid" (although #2 would be a somewhat contrived context, and would require the final "tag question" to be reversed into "..., will you?").

So I'd say this "online grammar test" is very poor quality, purely on the grounds that there's no single correct answer. All we can say for sure is #4 is a no-hoper.

But let's face it — any half-alert native speaker wouldn't come out with that clumsy repetition of "back" either. If it makes OP feel any better, #3 is actually closest to the more natural phrasing...

You will [make sure you] put it back before the boss returns, won't you?

For what it's worth, there is a difference in some contexts (not this one) between using future perfect (will have done) and simple future (will do)...

When I leave the office I will enjoy/will have enjoyed a few hours of leisurely relaxation.

share|improve this answer
Assuming #1 (will have) could be a valid answer - shouldn't the tag part be changed to "won't you have" then? – zerkms Jul 3 '12 at 0:03
@zerkms: Definitely not – Armen Ծիրունյան Jul 3 '12 at 0:15
@zerkms: Certainly, yes. – user16269 Jul 3 '12 at 0:22
@FumbleFingers- I think only will is possible. Putting the other two could make the tag question part somewhat unorthodox, right? – Noah Jul 3 '12 at 0:39
@Noah: You're right re #2 - the "tag question" would need to be reversed into "will you?". I'll edit to reflect that. – FumbleFingers Jul 3 '12 at 0:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.