View Poll Results: I ____ tell her if I see her.
- 359. This poll is closed
am going to
Either could be used.
I'm afraid this is not so. Will in a reported question beginning with 'if' is correct. Look at these, if you will:
He wants to know if he will be starting on the left side of midfield...
Steve Lovell does not know if he will be in Aberdeen's starting line-up for the UEFA Cup match against Copenhagen on Thursday. He probably won't. He does not know if he will be in the north-east at the start of next season.
The above are from The Washington Post and from a UK site and you can see them here and here. There are a lot more examples from many British and American sites and I can give you more links if you like.
And I'll have to disagree that the sentence He wants to know if you are here tomorrow is correct. If you are going to be here tomorrow is OK.
And one last thing: A reported question (a question in reported speech) is not a conditional clause.
Originally Posted by aggelos
The quotations provided does not necessarily mean they are correct English. You have not quoted an English grammarian or teacher.
The sentence He wants to know if you will be here tomorrow is in reported speech and it contains a conditional sentence , i.e. if you are here tomorrow / if you are going to be here tomorrow. Yet, if you are here tomorrow is correct English, if you take into consideration the fact that the present tense simple has, among other uses, the one which states a future action.
I usually follow the rules of English grammar. Let`s hope that the English teachers on this site will give us some advice or opinions on this.
Anyway, I like the way you try to demonstrate that you are right. I don`t say that you are totally wrong. Let`s wait for some English teachers` comments.
Last edited by Teia; 20-Dec-2007 at 20:08.
It's nice exchanging views with you here! I'm sorry to say, though, that I must disagree with you again.
Waiting for answers from English teachers, I'd like you to know that I'm an English teacher, too; I've been one for 28 years now. Of course, I'm not English, I'm Greek, but still a teacher of English with lots of experience. I may be nowhere near native English teachers in language fluency, skills etc., but I'm quite familiar with English grammar.
I wish I could cite some rules or examples from some grammar book, since you require some language authority to verify my claims, but unfortunately I've lent my basic grammar books to a friend. Therefore, I can only refer you to numerous findings from the Internet.
Let's see then. This is really rather simple: Questions in reported (indirect) speech have nothing to do with conditionals. Please consider the following:
-Will he pass his exam? (a direct question)
-I don't know if/whether he will pass his exam (a reported question)
There's no conditional here. If there were one, it would have to be a conditional in direct speech, too. The following example is a conditional: He'll be very happy if he passes his exam. In the previous sentence, will would be unacceptable in the 'if'-clause.
Cited below are examples of will used in 'if'-clauses. None of these will instances have a meaning close to wish or be willing to or similar. They're all used to report direct questions (ie they are questions in reported speech). Were one to reconstruct the original question, or ask the question directly, one would come up with a question only, with no trace of a conditional anywhere. The examples have been taken from sources as reliable as I could find. If the Washington Post, one of the most well-known newspapers worldwide, is to be doubted, can sources such as the UK House of Commons, the BBC News, The Guardian, British and American Universities also be regarded unreliable? Anyway, here they are:
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
I doubt if I'll pass the course (Definition of if - Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
First Year Parents
As you send your child to college, you probably realize that their life is going to change. You may be asking yourself if they will be homesick, if they will make friends, if they will succeed academically, and if they will change or be different as a result of their college experience. The truth is that their life will change and so will yours. (First Year Parents)
...be sure you talk to them before the summer and ask if they will be able to write a recommendation for you the next year. (Stanford: Applying to Stanford | Preparing for College: Grade 11)
STATE OF MICHIGAN
Residence requirements will be met because clients have no way to estimate when/if they will be returning to their former state of residence. (http://michiganlegalaid.org/library_...e0/at_download)
University of New Hampshire
If and how anonymity and/or confidentiality of subject will be maintained, including storage and access to data, and reporting of results. If collecting data on audio and/or video tape, explain the purpose for recordings, how they will be used, how and where they will be stored, who will have access, if they will be coded, cross-referenced, destroyed after transcription, or any other procedure used to maintain confidentiality. (http://www.unh.edu/osr/compliance/su...ple_ic_frm.doc)
University of Southern California
If activities are to be audio- or videotaped, describe the subject’s right to review/edit the tapes, who will have access, if they will be used for educational purpose, and approximately when they will be erased. (http://www.usc.edu/admin/provost/oprs/private/docs/upirb/forms/Verbal_Consent_Script_1107.doc)
University of Delaware
Students need to know if they will be expected to participate in discussions (THE SYLLABUS RE-EVALUATED: CREATING)
UK House of Commons:
2 Alice Mahon (Halifax): To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will publish the annual report of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
3 Dr George Turner (North West Norfolk): To ask the Prime Minister, what additional projects are planned for the Performance and Innovation Unit; and if he will make a statement.
15 Barbara Follett (Stevenage): To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about recent developments in the preparation of secondary legislation under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.(Order of Business for Thursday 7th December 2000)
The question now is whether, like Annan, he will try to redeem his legacy only after leaving his post, or if he will do something while he still can. (Carrots but no stick - Home - Parliamentary Brief)
I wonder if he will write back. I doubt it. (Business as usual. Real news from Observer Blog)
Current Assembly group leader Mike German will make it clear if he will try to stay or if he will step down. (BBC NEWS | Programmes | Politics Show | Should I go or should I stay..?)
Ok, maybe we can find some common ground and then again maybe not. It's Ok anyway. If everyone agreed on everything with everybody else, this world would be rather boring
Last edited by aggelos; 21-Dec-2007 at 01:24.
Very impressing, indeed!
And very useful too! I am interested in talking with someone like you who knows how to sustain his [or her] ideas, no matter if we agree or not on a subject. I must say that, in some way, I have to reconsider my views of using will in conditional clauses or reported speech !
One more thought: I wouldnt` ever say that sources like newspapers or other English sites were wrong or unreliable, but , in my opinion, the use of will in some circumstances sounds rather strange or inappropriate to me.
Last edited by Teia; 21-Dec-2007 at 21:58.
Every person who studies a foreign language has at some point (actually, several points...) of the learning process adopted views or acquired convictions that may later prove capable of improvement. And such a thing can happen even at a later point, not only at the initial stages. I myself have had to reconsider and change my views about a lot of things, some of them not too long ago. Language and grammar aids usually do their best to help students, but language is such a vast area that no single book, however good or advanced, can cover all of its aspects. Ceaseless exposure, so to speak, to a language is the only way one can get as close to mastering it as possible.
In any case, discussing things and keeping an open-minded attitude always helps a person see something new and put their views and convictions to the test. I believe everyone can help everyone else see something from a perhaps clearer perspective. Seeing that you are a person in possession of such positive qualities, I'm glad to say it's a pleasure talking to you and I'm sure this can be a rewarding experience.
Coming back to 'if + will', maybe it would help if we considered one more (somewhat different) example. How would we put the following direct speech conditional sentence into reported speech, beginning with "I want to know..."?
-Will she say yes if he proposes to her?
-I want to know...
Sorry to butt in to your conversation, but I'd like to have a try transferring a sentence proposed by Aggelos into reported speech.
Q: Will she say yes if he proposes to her?
A: I want to know... if/whether she will say yes if he proposes to her.
I wonder whether I'm right.
My aim was to show the different uses of 'if' in the same sentence. The first one serves to introduce a reported question, whereas the second introduces the conditional clause. 'If' can be substituted for 'whether' in the first instance. Therefore, whenever 'whether' can be used instead of 'if', we have a reported question and the rules we know about conditional clauses do not apply.
Last edited by aggelos; 23-Dec-2007 at 00:55.
You're right about the too many ifs; it would sound rather awkward. I meant it only as a 'dry' exercise, though.
I'm afraid you still haven't made the distinction between a reported question and a conditional clause. In my example, we cannot know if she agrees now (she doesn't know yet), we want to know if she will agree when the proposal is made.
"I'll be happy if she agrees" is a conditional.
"I want to know if she agrees" is not a conditional. In a conditional you say that something will happen only if something else happens. So, let's analyse the above sentences:
(1) -If she agrees then what? -Then I'll be happy (makes sense).
(2) -If she agrees then what? -Then I want to know ((!) this doesn't make sense; and it doesn't because it is not a conditional, it is a question in reported speech.)
Please think how you would put the following sentences into reported speech with the suggested introduction:
-Do they believe me?
-Will they believe me?
I want to know...
If we think that the use of 'if' always means we have a conditional clause, then we'll end up with the same thing: "I want to know if they believe me". Is there no way then to make the distinction? Fortunately, there is. As our sentences are not conditional but, rather, main clauses and putting them into reported speech does not make them conditional clauses either, no restrictions apply and the tense they're in does not change (provided we begin our sentence with a verb in the present tense, as in "I want to know..."). So we have: (1) "I want to know if they believe me" (now), (2) "I want to know if they'll believe me" (when I've told them).
I would say both could be used, depending on the circumstances surrounding the statement.
I will tell her if I see her
"Have you seen Sue? I need to speak to her"
"No, I haven't, but I'll tell her if I see her"
(I've just decided to tell her sth)
I'm going to tell her if I see her
"I haven't seen Jenny in ages!"
"Neither have I. I heard she's coming to the party tonight though"
"Great! Does she know Dan and Jill are getting married?"
"No, she doesn't . I'm going to tell her if I see her"
(I decided a while back to tell her sth)
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