Scientific article style: present or future
Which sentence is correct between these two:
- If you heat ice, it will turn into water.
- If you heat ice, it turns into water.
Both are grammatically correct. One can use the present for a future action, especially when it is a general (not specific) or frequentive one. Notice the difference in sense between these two contrasting examples:
The first is about a particular piece of ice, the second about ice in general.
Both are grammatical. The second is the normal way of stating something that is always the case. The first is an example of what is sometimes known as the First Conditional, which predicts a likely result if the condition in the if-clause is met. The nature of the statement in this particular case means that you can use either construction without fear of being misunderstood.
However, that is not always so. There’s a difference between If you run, you catch the train and If you run, you will catch the train. The first can be true at any time, but the second would be used in a particular situation in which someone you knew actually needed to catch a train.