The decision has been made and we ask for just one thing, an immediate positive intervention of Zaccagnini. If that won't happen, we'll have no choice but to execute the sentence, you understand?

This is the part of a monologue from the movie The Moro Affair. I would like to ask whether the clause "If that won't happen" is OK. I am aware that in some cases there is needed to use the future in the if-clause, like "If it will help you, I will go to a dentist with you". But my sentence contains after all type 2 of the conditional where the pattern is: if-clause – Simple present and main clause – Simple future. So I would await "If that doesn't happen, we'll have no choice".

  • 1
    If (we accept that the current situation is that) that won't happen, we have no choice but to [blah blah]. May 20, 2016 at 19:35
  • @WS2: You could say If that won't happen = Since it won't happen in some contexts, whereas If it doesn't happen = In the event that it doesn't... May 20, 2016 at 19:56
  • I thought that in my sentence fits your second version, i.e. If it doesn't happen = In the event that it doesn't.
    – bart-leby
    May 20, 2016 at 20:10
  • 1
    This is the deontic sense of will, meaning be willing. It's the only interpretation of will allowed in if-clauses. We have asked for one thing to happen; if this won't happen -- i.e, if they won't allow it to happen -- then, ... May 20, 2016 at 20:12
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    @bart-leby It amounts to "All we ask is that Zaccagnini intervene. You tell me that he will not, so we will have no choice but to execute the sentence" May 20, 2016 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


'If that doesn't happen' is the right form.

'Won't' comes from 'will not', so applies a person deciding not to do something. 'Doesn't' comes from 'do', so just describes a circumstance.

You might use 'if you won't' or 'if it doesn't' but not 'if it won't.'


Just realised it is more complex.

'Will it happen' and 'it won't happen' and 'it will happen' are all fine, but they never get combined with 'if'.


will it happen?
if it doesn't, we'll be fine.

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