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I wonder why the phrase is "When you see it you will shit brix," and not "When you will see it you will shit brix."

Is the version with two will incorrect? What grammar rule says that you should not use will see in the above phrase?

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Hint: “brix” isn’t correct either and the idiom “to shit bricks” is also not usually employed by people who pay attention to grammar. This question is a bit like asking whether the “z” in “I can has cheezburger” is correct. ;-) – Konrad Rudolph Jan 22 '11 at 11:43
@Konrad Rudolph: I don't think that to pay attention to grammar means to avoid slang. And the question is not about slang at all, I just ran into the sentence at shitbrix.com/mindfuck/popular/39244-good-friends – Serg Jan 22 '11 at 12:46
@Serg: My comment was more tongue in cheek than anything else. – Konrad Rudolph Jan 22 '11 at 13:12
@Serg Though you could have come up with a more pleasant example. Like: "When you see it you will be amazed", – Šime Vidas Jan 22 '11 at 19:13
@Serg Because some people might not be comfortable with the expression "shit bricks". So, to be polite, you avoid such phrases. – Šime Vidas Jan 22 '11 at 19:25
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Adding to Elendil's answer, "When" refers to "the point in time at which an action occurs".

And at that point of time, you are actually "seeing it", which is why the verb is in the present tense.

When/If (somethings happens) then (something else will happen)

if (something will happen) would be impossible to evaluate as a condition since the future is unknown.

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When you refer to the future in a conditional clause, you usually use the simple present tense, therefore the first sentence is correct.

Oh, and it's spelled 'bricks', as in the plural of 'brick'.

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No, it means 'you will defecate bricks' :) It would have to be 'When you see it, Brix will shit.' to mean what you thought. – user3444 Jan 22 '11 at 10:39
It does, but it's still wrong ;) To use another common phrase, you've got the wrong end of the stick. – user3444 Jan 22 '11 at 12:52

I challenge the premise, implied in the title, that English has a future tense. I won't pursue the argument per se because there are many articles on the subject by people more qualified than I am. Here's the first scholarly article that caught my eye.

The Case Against a Future Tense in English

Author: Huddleston, Rodney

Source: Studies in Language, Volume 19, Number 2, 1995, pp.

399-446(48) Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company

For the purpose of my answer, I'm going to accept as an axiom that English does not have a future tense. If you accept that then there is no mixing of tenses in the phrase:

"When you see it you will shit bricks."


"When you see (present tense) it you will (present tense) shit (bare infinitive) bricks."

In a similar vein:

"If you saw (simple past) it you would (simple past of 'will') shit (bare infinitive) bricks."

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That's a start but it doesn't hold water unless you make a minimal attempt at supporting the conjecture that there is no future tense. Otherwise this just looks like empty logic – Mitch Jul 19 '15 at 12:38

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