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”
“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?
We can also use the Present continuous or Present perfect
- After you have finished the document, come to my office.
- When you are parking your car, can you send me a message, please?
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)