Hot answers tagged

27

The rule you have been told has some validity, but is too general. English speakers don't use a will with simple future meaning after if: If the plan succeeds, I will come. not *If the plan will succeed, I will come. But will can also convey intention or willingness, so with an animate subject (especially second person) will can work If you ...


24

As implied in the comments, the specific meaning of the two are slightly different (albeit both grammatically correct). It helps to break down the contractions. You will not catch the train if you do not leave on time This phrase is neutral in its blame: not catching the train will happen if you, for whatever reason, do not leave on time. You will not ...


20

This topic seems to come up with some frequency here. Your teacher was overgeneralizing, I'm afraid. It's not wrong to use will this way; it's just that it may not mean what you want it to mean. In the case you mention, it means that you are commenting on the possibility that you may be willing to go there, which sounds at least odd, and seems very unlikely ...


19

Were is the plural past tense form of be, used here in a counterfactual conditional idiom construction that is given various names, including "subjunctive", which often apply to other European languages, though not to English. In fact, however, tense is not what you need to know here. Tense only has to do with time -- past (was/were) and present (am/is/are) ...


19

You raise a valid concern. On the one hand, we often talk of periphrastic tenses (and other constructions); on the other, some insist that a tense should be confined to a single word. Others, again, hold that tense is a property of a sentence or clause, not of a word or phrase. Can this problem be solved at all? The short answer is: there are different ...


16

It's an example of the past subjunctive: Past subjunctive Like the term present subjunctive, past subjunctive can be misunderstood, as it describes a form rather than a meaning. The past subjunctive is so named because it resembles the past indicative in form, but the difference between them is a difference in modality, not in temporality. For ...


16

In OP's examples, "in" and "after" both specify a future time relative to the present moment. There's no grammatical rule saying either preposition is correct or wrong - it's just idiomatic preference that most people would use "in". Given that "in" is a somewhat "metaphoric" usage here, I suspect there's a tendency to only use it in simple constructions ...


16

If 'when' is used to indicate a context in the future, the 'will' becomes redundant and 'when' is followed by the present form of whatever verb. In this case: when + subject + present simple , subject + future simple When I know the answer, I'll call you When he leaves for work, I'll telephone.


14

SUPPLEMENTARY to Colin Fine's answer: Colin Fine explains the most common use of will in if clauses, which is the use in your example. There are other such situations: when will is used emphatically in its habitual/insistent sense: If you will keep bothering me with questions you must expect some answers you don't like. when will is used in the ...


13

In most contexts, I am going to [verb] and I will [verb] are interchangeable. Sometimes the former may place more emphasis on the fact of your current intention/expectation, where the latter emphasises the future action. There are some contexts where the difference is clear, and this may have some bearing on why OP thinks there's a planned/spontaneous ...


13

In the old days, shall was used with the first person and will was used with the second and third persons. This is no longer the case. Neither word is becoming extinct. In fact they are not even endangered.


12

In English, like in many other languages, we only have two tenses, a past tense and a present tense. Of course, we can still talk about the future. We use special present tense constructions to talk about the future. For example, we can us the present continuous: I am meeting my friends tomorrow. We can use the present simple: The train leaves at 5pm. We ...


10

Using about to in this way is intended to create a sense of immediacy or urgency. If the company is "about to" go on a hiring spree, they will probably begin the hiring spree as soon as they can. As another example: I'm about to empty the garbage. A listener can assume I'm probably standing in front of the garbage can and I might have already removed and ...


10

The answer to your second question is that the sentence is just fine as it stands. “When will you be here?” and “What time will you be here?” are perfectly equivalent in all registers. The extra at sounds overly verbose and cumbersome. I would not call it “wrong”, but neither would — well, or should — anyone mark wrong a sentence without it. The answer ...


10

Will you need... and Will you be needing... differ in that the second of these is a less direct and hence more polite way to phrase the question. Swan in Practical English Usage (p196) explains it well: The tense can be used to make polite enquiries about people's plans. (By using the future progressive to ask 'What have you already decided?', the ...


9

In some cases, it is possible to use "will" in "if" sentences to imply A) willingness If you'll just hold the door open for me a moment, I can take this table out to the kitchen. B) obstinate persistence If you will keep all the windows shut, of course you'll get headaches C) if the "if" action is after the main action, will (or an equivalent ...


9

I assume section 3 and section 4 have both been published. In that case, it depends on the writer's intention. The first gives the impression that the reader may go straight to section 4 and be able to understand it without first finishing section 3, the second that section 4 will only make sense after the reader has finished section 3.


9

English can use both the present progressive construction, as in your first sentence, and going to, as in your second sentence, to express the future. Both describe a future event, arrangement or intention. However, going to suggests a little more strongly than the present progressive that the event is fixed and cannot be changed. The choice between the two ...


9

The present continuous used for the future implies planning and arrangement: There is a suggestion that more than one person is aware of the event, and that some preparation has already happened. e.g. edufind.com I'm meeting Joe at the station > implies > Joe and I have arranged it. I am arriving tomorrow. > implies > I have my ticket. We're ...


9

"Are you going?" is the more natural British English usage when you are simply asking about plans or intent. "Will you go" works too, but sounds a bit clunky. "Will you...?" is also the way you might ask someone to do something, rather than just asking about their plans - as in "please go...."


8

"Soonest" seems short and to the point.


8

I think either is acceptable if both are in the same document and thus presumably published at the same time. The present tense is from the point of view that the entire document is there, available to read. The future tense is from the point of view that the reader is progressing through the sections in order and hasn't gotten to later sections yet. For a ...


8

Syntactically, yes, the sentence is correct. It's the Passive Future Progressive. The direct derivation is: Michael will be drinking water. >>> Water will be being drunk by Michael. But the real question is, what do you want to mean by it, and in what situation? You would have to be referring to a particular moment or point in time in the future. ...


8

"Wish" is used to express regret and that something isn't as you would like it to be. Ex. I wish I knew her number. (= I don't) Ex. I wish I didn't have to go to school. (= I do) Even the example that you found in the book: I wish the weather would be nice this weekend. implies that the speaker would like it to be, but the speaker doesn't ...


8

How about this trick? This happens when? If the other person knows the event to be in the past, they should assume that you were using the historic present. If they know the event to be in the future, they will assume the simple present. Either way, you win.


8

On a minor point of fact, Latin portaturus sum and portabo are not simple alternatives. While the second is the straightforward future tense, the first has a variety of meanings depending on context. They include ‘about to carry’, ‘going to carry’, ‘intending to carry’, ‘determined to carry’ and ‘on the point of carrying’. However, I doubt if any of us are ...


8

I am to go to London has a special meaning, or range of meanings, which go beyond stating a simple future tense. Usually it means this: A decision was made by someone else for me to go to London. It is an example of the "to be" + infinitive construction, exemplified by clauss like "you are to be quiet" (to be + to be) or "you are to take your medicine ...


8

The word can comes to us from the Old English cunnan, to know, which belongs to a Germanic-language class of verbs called "preterite-present." These verbs have a preterite (i.e., past tense) inflective pattern in the present tense. In English, the verb is defective, in that it has only the present and past forms (the latter being could) and no future form. ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible