What's the difference between the following two sentences?

If you use medical marijuana to alleviate chronic pain, you have to obtain a doctor’s endorsement.


If you are going to use medical marijuana to alleviate chronic pain, you will have to obtain a doctor's endorsement.

  • 1
    The first example is present tense expressing present time, The second uses the progressive aspect ("are going" to express future time.
    – BillJ
    Sep 15 at 8:04
  • So you mean the first one means that using medical marijuana to alleviate chronic pain is happening right now, and the person who uses it needs to obtain a doctor's endorsement? Sep 15 at 8:10
  • There's no meaning difference between the two sentences; will, going to and have to all refer to the future, one way or another. Different people might use one or the other in a given circumstance, but there's no consistent difference. Sep 16 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


The first one uses the present tense to make a general statement - 'anyone who uses... has to...'.

The second addresses the reader/hearer directly - ' if you (personally) intend to use marijuana...'

  • 1
    I disagree. I think either of them can be general or direct.
    – Barmar
    Sep 19 at 22:39
  • What different rule is happy to extend 'anyone who uses... ' but not 'anyone who intends to/is going to use...'? 7 hours ago

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