If + will or If +present

Is “If + will…” possible?

An answer to a reader’s question

I want to thank Dhritishankar Sen very much for sending us this question:

  “A – If you will not buy me an ice cream I will not go to school.

B –  If you do not buy me an ice cream I will not go to school.

Which sentence is correct and why? please help”

Our answer:

“B” is, in most situations, the correct sentence. We use a present tense after words such as if, when, before, after and most other conjunctions when the phrase has a future meaning:

  • After you read this, let me know what you think.
  • When you arrive can you phone me, please?
  • If you like my answer, will you tell your friends?

The structure of the sentence you have used in B is also commonly known as the First conditional

If + will is possible in certain situations:

  • If you will come with me, I’ll introduce you to my boss (used to make a polite request)
  • I’ll give you some money if it will help you to visit your mother in hospital (this is not a condition, it means the help is a result)    Compare with:
  • I’ll give you some money if you visit your mother in hospital. (this means: on the condition that you visit her)

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