When I complete it, I will feel that everything is fine.


I will feel (that) everything is fine, when I complete it.

Should 'is' be 'will be', because feeling that 'everything is fine' will occur in the future?

I'm trying to depict a state that will be the present in the future, not a state that will happen after or later than some point in the future.

  • There is no future tense in English. One may refer to the future in many ways, including the simple present, the present progressive, other modal auxiliaries (may, can, would, should, must, etc), and various special constructions (be going to, have to, ought to, be to, etc). Will is not used nearly as often in English as you seem to have been told. Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 22:29

3 Answers 3


Is is the correct form here; in this case, the time in the subordinate clause "that everything is fine" is interpreted relative to the time in the matrix clause "I will feel that […]". The same construction even allows the past tense, as in this example:

Subjective experiences of relative success or failure flow from these evaluations, viewed in the light of one's prior expectations (e.g., among students who earn a B, any who expected a lower grade will feel successful but any who expected an A will feel that they failed to accomplish what they should have). [link; italics in original, boldface mine]

where failed is in the past tense to indicate that the (perceived) failure predates the feeling of it. (The present perfect, have failed, would also work here, but the simple present, fail, would not.)

If you have access to the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL), this construction is discussed in Chapter 3 ("The verb"), § 4.2.6 ("Future interpretation of a non-deictic present tense"), page 136, as well as in § 4.3.4 ("Non-deictic anteriority"), page 139. The details are surprisingly subtle, but you don't necessarily need to understand all of them to find the explanation and examples useful.

Incidentally, if we "flipped" the sentence from future time to past time, we would use the past tense for all three verbs:

When I completed it, I felt that everything was fine.

This asymmetry between handling of past time and future time is pervasive in English; we arguably don't even really have a future tense, just a past tense, a non-past tense, and various rules for when future time can, must, or must not be indicated in a special way.


It depends on the nature of the task. If completion of it results in an actual change then is is correct but if the task is only a stage in a process then will be is correct.

For example you might say "When I have rewired the house I will know that the electrical system is safe" but "When I have worked out the wiring scheme and calculated the loads I will know that the electrical system will be safe".

The difference is that all the planning in the world will not actually make the house safe to live in, the old dangerous wiring will still be there until it is physically replaced. But note that the completed task version (...will know that...is...) is much more common


The Is will stay unless you wish leave out the verb to feel and rewrite as:

When I complete my work everything will be fine.


Everything will be fine when I complete my work. (Better)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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