"You are going to be the reason I go to jail."

I'm asking this question because the way this phrase is worded sounds a little weird to me. I think it should be:

"You are going to be the reason why I will go to jail."

I might be wrong. Can you point me to the right direction of whether the first phrase is accepted in regular speech or not and if my second example is correct grammatically speaking?

  • We use present tense for repeated action. So You are the reason I am going to jail. – Peter Shor Sep 5 '16 at 14:44
  • Yes, but what about when the speaker is not going to jail in that moment nor in a regular basis? He will be referring to an idiomatic ideal that he might go to jail in the future. I know he can say something like "I might go to jail" but he saying "I go to jail" to emphasize that something bad is going to happen. – Manuel Hernandez Sep 5 '16 at 14:45
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    The repetition of go might be why it sounds a little weird. How about "You are going to be the reason I end up in jail"? – Peter Shor Sep 5 '16 at 14:46
  • That sounds way better – Manuel Hernandez Sep 5 '16 at 14:47
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    I think it's just the unfortunate repetition of go that makes it sound odd. "You are going to be the reason I commit a crime" sounds fine to me. – Peter Shor Sep 5 '16 at 14:49

There is nothing wrong with the first sentence:

"You are going to be the reason I go to jail."

In the second sentence, it is redundant to use both the reason and why. On that point, you could choose either of the following:

"You are going to be the reason I will go to jail.

"You are going to be why I will go to jail."*

As @PeterShor has indicated, however, "are going to" implies the future, so you don't need will in the second (dependent) clause. This brings us back to:

"You are going to be the reason I go to jail.

"You are going to be why I go to jail."

Both of these work.

| improve this answer | |
  • I feel a little ashamed now. because, I've always said things like: "Tell me the reason why!", "That's the reason why", "You're the reason why" and so on. ): well I think is good that I found out here that is incorrect. Thanks guys I really appreciate your help. – Manuel Hernandez Sep 5 '16 at 17:24
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    @ManuelHernandez No need to feel at all ashamed. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's incorrect, but I 'd try to avoid it. It's easy to do: What's the reason? Tell me why! That's the reason I ... That's why I ... You're the reason I ... You're why I ..., etc. – Richard Kayser Sep 5 '16 at 17:55

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